Dolutegravir (Tivicay)

Dolutegravir (Tivicay) belongs to the class of antiretroviral drugs known as integrase inhibitors. The drug works against HIV's integrase protein, blocking its ability to integrate its genetic code into human cells.

It was given marketing approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US in 2013 and in Europe in January 2014 for use by adults and adolescents over 12 years of age.

Dolutegravir is formulated as a yellow 50mg tablet. The dose of dolutegravir is 50mg (one tablet) once a day, or twice a day if taken with efavirenz, nevirapine, tipranavir, or for HIV known to be resistant to integrase inhibitors. It can be taken with our without food.

Important warning: An allergic (hypersensitivity) reaction has been reported in some people taking dolutegravir. This is not common, but you should see a doctor immediately if you think you are experiencing an allergic reaction. The symptoms are skin rash; fever; fatigue; swelling, sometimes of the face or mouth, causing breathing problems; muscle or joint aches.

Common side-effects experienced by people taking dolutegravir include: nausea, diarrhoea, headache, rash, itching, vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, insomnia, dizziness, abnormal dreams, fatigue, flatulence, increase in liver enzymes, increase in creatine phosphokinase (enzymes produced in the muscles).

Rare side-effects include allergic reaction, and liver inflammation.

It is very important to tell your prescribing doctor about any drugs you are taking, whether they are prescribed by another doctor, bought from a pharmacy, or herbal, recreational, or other drugs. There are some key drug interactions for dolutegravir, but your doctor or pharmacist should check for other interactions too. Do not take dolutegravir with dofetilide, a drug used to treat certain heart conditions. You should not take antacids (used to treat indigestion and heartburn), calcium supplements, iron supplements or multivitamins for six hours before you take dolutegravir, or for at least two hours after taking dolutegravir. Dolutegravir also interacts with other drugs, which may mean you need to adjust the dose you take, or need closer monitoring from your doctor. This includes metformin, rifampicin, some epilepsy drugs, and St John’s wort.