Indinavir is an antiviral drug used to treat HIV infection, and is in a class of medications known as protease inhibitors.
Taking indinavir with a meal high in calories, protein, and fat dramatically reduces the absorption of the drug.1 One controlled trial showed that taking indinavir with a high-fat breakfast greatly reduced blood levels of the drug, while two types of low-fat meals had no effect.2 Therefore, indinavir should be taken either with a low-fat meal or on an empty stomach.
Studies have shown that taking indinavir together with St. John’s wort results in increased breakdown and dramatically reduced blood levels of indinavir.5 , 6 Therefore, people taking indinavir should not take St. John’s wort.
Indinavir is a protease inhibitor used to treat people with HIV infection. A pharmacological study gave indinavir to healthy volunteers for two days.7 On day 3, volunteers added 900 mg of St. John’s wort extract per day. At the end of the study, it was found that St. John’s wort led to a significant reduction in serum levels of indinavir. Until more is known, people taking indinavir or other antiretroviral drugs for HIV infection should avoid using St. John’s wort.
1. Sifton DW, ed. Physicians’ Desk Reference. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 2000, 1772–6.
2. Yeh KC, Deutsch PJ, Haddix H, et al. Single-dose pharmacokinetics of indinavir and the effect of food. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1998;42:332–8.
3. Sifton DW, ed. Physicians’ Desk Reference. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 2000, 1772–6.
4. Yeh KC, Deutsch PJ, Haddix H, et al. Single-dose pharmacokinetics of indinavir and the effect of food. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1998;42:332–8.
5. Piscitelli SC, Burstein AH, Chaitt D, et al. Indinavir concentrations and St. John’s wort. Lancet 2000;355:547–8 [letter].
6. Moore LB, Goodwin B, Jones SA, et al. St. John’s wort induces hepatic drug metabolism through activation of the pregnane X receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000;97:7500–2.
7. Piscitelli SC, Burstein AH, Chaitt D, et al. Indinavir concentrations and St. John’s wort. Lancet 2000;355:547–8 [letter].
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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