Lopinavir / Ritonavir (KALETRA CAPSULES)


KALETRA (lopinavir/ritonavir) is a co-formulation of lopinavir and ritonavir. Lopinavir is an inhibitor of the HIV-1 protease. As co-formulated in KALETRA, ritonavir inhibits the CYP3Amediated metabolism of lopinavir, thereby providing increased plasma levels of lopinavir.

Lopinavir is chemically designated as [1S-[1R*,(R*), 3R*, 4R*]]-N-[4-[[(2,6dimethylphenoxy)acetyl]amino]-3-hydroxy-5-phenyl-1-(phenylmethyl)pentyl]tetrahydro-alpha(1-methylethyl)-2-oxo-1(2H)-pyrimidineacetamide. Its molecular formula is C37H48N4O5, and its molecular weight is 628.80. Lopinavir is a white to light tan powder. It is freely soluble in methanol and ethanol, soluble in isopropanol and practically insoluble in water. Lopinavir has the following structural formula:

Lopinavir - Structural Formula Illustration

Ritonavir is chemically designated as 10-hydroxy-2-methyl-5-(1-methylethyl)-1-[2-(1methylethyl)-4-thiazolyl]-3,6-dioxo-8,11-bis(phenylmethyl)-2,4,7,12-tetraazatridecan-13-oic acid, 5-thiazolylmethyl ester, [5S-(5R*,8R*,10R*,11R*)]. Its molecular formula is C37H48N6O5S2, and its molecular weight is 720.95. Ritonavir is a white to light tan powder. It is freely soluble in methanol and ethanol, soluble in isopropanol and practically insoluble in water. Ritonavir has the following structural formula:

Ritonavir - Structural Formula Illustration

KALETRA capsules are available for oral administration in a strength of 133.3 mg lopinavir and 33.3 mg ritonavir with the following inactive ingredients: FD&C Yellow No. 6, gelatin, glycerin, oleic acid, polyoxyl 35 castor oil, propylene glycol, sorbitol special, titanium dioxide, and water.

No health feed found.

Lopinavir/ritonavir inhibits the HIV protease enzyme by forming an inhibitor-enzyme complex thereby preventing cleavage of the gag-pol polyproteins. Immature, non- infectious viral particles are subsequently produced.

As of 2006, lopinavir/ritonavir forms part of the preferred combination for first-line therapy recommended by the US United States Department of Health and Human Services in 2006.

The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the labeling.

  • QT Interval Prolongation, PR Interval Prolongation
  • Drug Interactions
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Hepatotoxicity

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

Adverse Reactions In Adults

The safety of KALETRA has been investigated in about 2,600 patients in Phase II-IV clinical trials, of which about 700 have received a dose of 800/200 mg (6 capsules or 4 tablets) once daily. Along with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), in some studies, KALETRA was used in combination with efavirenz or nevirapine.

In clinical studies the incidence of diarrhea in patients treated with either KALETRA capsules or tablets was greater in those patients treated once daily than in those patients treated twice daily. Any grade of diarrhea was reported by at least half of patients taking once daily Kaletra capsules or tablets. At the time of treatment discontinuation, 4.2-6.3% of patients taking once daily Kaletra and 1.8-3.7% of those taking twice daily Kaletra reported ongoing diarrhea.

KALETRA capsules must be taken with food.

Adult Patients

  • KALETRA capsules 400/100 mg (given as three 133/33 mg capsules) twice daily.
  • KALETRA capsules 800/200 mg (given as six 133/33 mg capsules) once daily in patients with less than three lopinavir resistance-associated substitutions.

Once daily administration of KALETRA is not recommended for adult patients with three or more of the following lopinavir resistance-associated substitutions: L10F/I/R/V, K20M/N/R, L24I, L33F, M36I, I47V, G48V, I54L/T/V, V82A/C/F/S/T, and I84V

KALETRA should not be administered once daily in combination with carbamazepine, phenobarbital, or phenytoin 

Concomitant Therapy: Efavirenz, Nevirapine, Or Nelfinavir

KALETRA capsules should not be administered as a once-daily regimen in combination with efavirenz, nevirapine, or nelfinavir.

  • A dose increase is recommended for all patients who use KALETRA capsules. The recommended dose of KALETRA capsules is 533/133 mg twice daily (given as four 133/33 mg capsules twice daily taken with food) when used in combination with efavirenz, nevirapine, or nelfinavir.

Pediatric Patients

KALETRA capsules should not be administered once daily in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age.

For children less than 12 years of age who weigh greater than 40 kg or for children greater than 12 years of age, the maximum dose of 400/100 mg twice daily (given as three 133/33 mg capsules twice daily taken with food) is recommended.

The use of KALETRA oral solution is recommended for children 14 days to 12 years of age who weigh less than 40 kg and in those children who cannot swallow capsules. Please refer to the KALETRA oral solution full prescribing information for pediatric dosage and administration and other important information for these children.

Concomitant Therapy: Efavirenz, Nevirapine, Or Nelfinavir

A dose increase is recommended for all pediatric patients who use KALETRA capsules. For children weighing more than 45 kg, the recommended dose of KALETRA capsules is 533/133 mg twice daily (given as four 133/33 mg capsules twice daily taken with food) when used in combination with efavirenz, nevirapine, or nelfinavir.

Potential For KALETRA To Affect Other Drugs

Lopinavir/ritonavir is an inhibitor of CYP3A and may increase plasma concentrations of agents that are primarily metabolized by CYP3A. Agents that are extensively metabolized by CYP3A and have high first pass metabolism appear to be the most susceptible to large increases in AUC ( > 3-fold) when co-administered with KALETRA. Thus, co-administration of KALETRA with drugs highly dependent on CYP3A for clearance and for which elevated plasma concentrations are associated with serious and/or life-threatening events is contraindicated. Co-administration with other CYP3A substrates may require a dose adjustment or additional monitoring as shown in Table 6.

Additionally, KALETRA induces glucuronidation.

Potential For Other Drugs To Affect Lopinavir

Lopinavir/ritonavir is a CYP3A substrate; therefore, drugs that induce CYP3A may decrease lopinavir plasma concentrations and reduce KALETRA's therapeutic effect. Although not observed in the KALETRA/ketoconazole drug interaction study, co-administration of KALETRA and other drugs that inhibit CYP3A may increase lopinavir plasma concentrations.

Established And Other Potentially Significant Drug Interactions

Table 6 provides a listing of established or potentially clinically significant drug interactions. Alteration in dose or regimen may be recommended based on drug interaction studies or predicted interaction.

Human experience of acute overdosage with KALETRA is limited. Treatment of overdose with KALETRA should consist of general supportive measures including monitoring of vital signs and observation of the clinical status of the patient. There is no specific antidote for overdose with KALETRA. If indicated, elimination of unabsorbed drug should be achieved by emesis or gastric lavage. Administration of activated charcoal may also be used to aid in removal of unabsorbed drug. Since KALETRA is highly protein bound, dialysis is unlikely to be beneficial in significant removal of the drug.

Risk Of Serious Adverse Reactions Due To Drug Interactions

Initiation of KALETRA, a CYP3A inhibitor, in patients receiving medications metabolized by CYP3A or initiation of medications metabolized by CYP3A in patients already receiving KALETRA, may increase plasma concentrations of medications metabolized by CYP3A. Initiation of medications that inhibit or induce CYP3A may increase or decrease concentrations of KALETRA, respectively. These interactions may lead to:

  • Clinically significant adverse reactions, potentially leading to severe, life-threatening, or fatal events from greater exposures of concomitant medications.
  • Clinically significant adverse reactions from greater exposures of KALETRA.
  • Loss of therapeutic effect of KALETRA and possible development of resistance.

See Table 6 for steps to prevent or manage these possible and known significant drug interactions, including dosing recommendations. Consider the potential for drug interactions prior to and during KALETRA therapy; review concomitant medications during KALETRA therapy, and monitor for the adverse reactions associated with the concomitant medications


Pancreatitis has been observed in patients receiving KALETRA therapy, including those who developed marked triglyceride elevations. In some cases, fatalities have been observed. Although a causal relationship to KALETRA has not been established, marked triglyceride elevations are a risk factor for development of pancreatitis [see Lipid Elevations]. Patients with advanced HIV-1 disease may be at increased risk of elevated triglycerides and pancreatitis, and patients with a history of pancreatitis may be at increased risk for recurrence during KALETRA therapy.

Pancreatitis should be considered if clinical symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain) or abnormalities in laboratory values (such as increased serum lipase or amylase values) suggestive of pancreatitis occur. Patients who exhibit these signs or symptoms should be evaluated and KALETRA and/or other antiretroviral therapy should be suspended as clinically appropriate.


Patients with underlying hepatitis B or C or marked elevations in transaminase prior to treatment may be at increased risk for developing or worsening of transaminase elevations or hepatic decompensation with use of KALETRA.

There have been postmarketing reports of hepatic dysfunction, including some fatalities. These have generally occurred in patients with advanced HIV-1 disease taking multiple concomitant medications in the setting of underlying chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis. A causal relationship with KALETRA therapy has not been established.

Elevated transaminases with or without elevated bilirubin levels have been reported in HIV-1 mono-infected and uninfected patients as early as 7 days after the initiation of KALETRA in conjunction with other antiretroviral agents. In some cases, the hepatic dysfunction was serious; however, a definitive causal relationship with KALETRA therapy has not been established.

Appropriate laboratory testing should be conducted prior to initiating therapy with KALETRA and patients should be monitored closely during treatment. Increased AST/ALT monitoring should be considered in the patients with underlying chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis, especially during the first several months of KALETRA treatment

QT Interval Prolongation

Postmarketing cases of QT interval prolongation and torsade de pointes have been reported although causality of KALETRA could not be established. Avoid use in patients with congenital long QT syndrome, those with hypokalemia, and with other drugs that prolong the QT interval

PR Interval Prolongation

Lopinavir/ritonavir prolongs the PR interval in some patients. Cases of second or third degree atrioventricular block have been reported. KALETRA should be used with caution in patients with underlying structural heart disease, pre-existing conduction system abnormalities, ischemic heart disease or cardiomyopathies, as these patients may be at increased risk for developing cardiac conduction abnormalities.

The impact on the PR interval of co-administration of KALETRA with other drugs that prolong the PR interval (including calcium channel blockers, beta-adrenergic blockers, digoxin and atazanavir) has not been evaluated. As a result, co-administration of KALETRA with these drugs should be undertaken with caution, particularly with those drugs metabolized by CYP3A. Clinical monitoring is recommended.

Diabetes Mellitus/Hyperglycemia

New onset diabetes mellitus, exacerbation of pre-existing diabetes mellitus, and hyperglycemia have been reported during post-marketing surveillance in HIV-1 infected patients receiving protease inhibitor therapy. Some patients required either initiation or dose adjustments of insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents for treatment of these events. In some cases, diabetic ketoacidosis has occurred. In those patients who discontinued protease inhibitor therapy, hyperglycemia persisted in some cases. Because these events have been reported voluntarily during clinical practice, estimates of frequency cannot be made and a causal relationship between protease inhibitor therapy and these events has not been established.

Immune Reconstitution Syndrome

Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including KALETRA. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections (such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia[PCP], or tuberculosis) which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.

Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution, however, the time to onset is more variable, and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.

Lipid Elevations

Treatment with KALETRA has resulted in large increases in the concentration of total cholesterol and triglycerides. Triglyceride and cholesterol testing should be performed prior to initiating KALETRA therapy and at periodic intervals during therapy. Lipid disorders should be managed as clinically appropriate, taking into account any potential drug-drug interactions with KALETRA and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors

Fat Redistribution

Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.

Patients With Hemophilia

Increased bleeding, including spontaneous skin hematomas and hemarthrosis have been reported in patients with hemophilia type A and B treated with protease inhibitors. In some patients additional factor VIII was given. In more than half of the reported cases, treatment with protease inhibitors was continued or reintroduced. A causal relationship between protease inhibitor therapy and these events has not been established.


Because the potential for HIV-1 cross-resistance among protease inhibitors has not been fully explored in treatment-naïve patients, it is unknown what effect therapy with KALETRA will have on the activity of subsequently administered protease inhibitors

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