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Kaletra (Lopinavir / Ritonavir) - Warnings and Precautions



Drug Interactions - CYP3A Enzyme Inhibition

KALETRA is a CYP3A inhibitor. Initiating treatment with KALETRA in patients receiving medications metabolized by CYP3A or initiating medications metabolized by CYP3A in patients already maintained on KALETRA may result in increased plasma concentrations of concomitant medications. Higher plasma concentrations of concomitant medications can result in increased or prolonged therapeutic or adverse effects, potentially leading to severe, life-threatening or fatal events. The potential for drug-drug interactions must be considered prior to and during therapy with KALETRA. Review of other medications taken by patients and monitoring of patients for adverse effects is recommended during therapy with KALETRA.

See Tables 3 and 9 for listing of drugs that are contraindicated for use with KALETRA due to potentially life-threatening adverse events, significant drug interactions, or loss of virologic activity [see Contraindications and Drug Interactions (7)].

Toxicity in Preterm Neonates

KALETRA oral solution contains the excipients alcohol (42.4% v/v) and propylene glycol (15.3% w/v). When administered concomitantly with propylene glycol, ethanol competitively inhibits the metabolism of propylene glycol, which may lead to elevated concentrations. Preterm neonates may be at increased risk of propylene glycol-associated adverse events due to diminished ability to metabolize propylene glycol, thereby leading to accumulation and potential adverse events. Postmarketing life-threatening cases of cardiac toxicity (including complete AV block, bradycardia, and cardiomyopathy), lactic acidosis, acute renal failure, CNS depression and respiratory complications leading to death have been reported, predominantly in preterm neonates receiving KALETRA oral solution.

KALETRA oral solution should not be used in preterm neonates in the immediate postnatal period because of possible toxicities. A safe and effective dose of KALETRA oral solution in this patient population has not been established. However, if the benefit of using KALETRA oral solution to treat HIV infection in infants immediately after birth outweighs the potential risks, infants should be monitored closely for increases in serum osmolality and serum creatinine, and for toxicity related to KALETRA oral solution including: hyperosmolality, with or without lactic acidosis, renal toxicity, CNS depression (including stupor, coma, and apnea), seizures, hypotonia, cardiac arrhythmias and ECG changes, and hemolysis. Total amounts of alcohol and propylene glycol from all medicines that are to be given to infants should be taken into account in order to avoid toxicity from these excipients [see Dosage and Administration and Overdosage].


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 Warnings and Precautions ]. 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 [see Use in Specific Populations].

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 [see Clinical Pharmacology ].

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 [see Clinical Pharmacology].

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 [see Adverse Reactions ]. 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 [see Contraindications and Drug Interactions].

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 cross-resistance among protease inhibitors has not been fully explored in KALETRA-treated patients, it is unknown what effect therapy with KALETRA will have on the activity of subsequently administered protease inhibitors [see Microbiology ].



Pregnancy Category C.

Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry: To monitor maternal-fetal outcomes of pregnant women exposed to KALETRA, an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has been established. Physicians are encouraged to register patients by calling 1-800-258-4263.

Human Data:

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. KALETRA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry: As of January 2011, the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry (APR) has received prospective reports of 2458 exposures to lopinavir containing regimens (738 exposed in the first trimester and 1720 exposed in the second and third trimester). Birth defects occurred in 16 of the 738 (2.2%) live births (first trimester exposure) and 41 of the 1720 (2.4%) live births (second/third trimester exposure). Among pregnant women in the U.S. reference population, the background rate of birth defects is 2.7%. There was no association between lopinavir and overall birth defects observed in the APR.

Animal Data:

No treatment-related malformations were observed when lopinavir in combination with ritonavir was administered to pregnant rats or rabbits. Embryonic and fetal developmental toxicities (early resorption, decreased fetal viability, decreased fetal body weight, increased incidence of skeletal variations and skeletal ossification delays) occurred in rats at a maternally toxic dosage. Based on AUC measurements, the drug exposures in rats at the toxic doses were approximately 0.7-fold for lopinavir and 1.8-fold for ritonavir for males and females that of the exposures in humans at the recommended therapeutic dose (400/100 mg twice daily). In a peri- and postnatal study in rats, a developmental toxicity (a decrease in survival in pups between birth and postnatal Day 21) occurred.

No embryonic and fetal developmental toxicities were observed in rabbits at a maternally toxic dosage. Based on AUC measurements, the drug exposures in rabbits at the toxic doses were approximately 0.6-fold for lopinavir and 1.0-fold for ritonavir that of the exposures in humans at the recommended therapeutic dose (400/100 mg twice daily).

Nursing Mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1 infected mothers not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1. Studies in rats have demonstrated that lopinavir is secreted in milk. It is not known whether lopinavir is secreted in human milk. Because of both the potential for HIV-1 transmission and the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, mothers should be instructed not to breastfeed if they are receiving KALETRA.

Pediatric Use

The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic profiles of KALETRA in pediatric patients below the age of 14 days have not been established. KALETRA once daily has not been evaluated in pediatric patients.

An open-label, multi-center, dose-finding trial was performed to evaluate the pharmacokinetic profile, tolerability, safety and efficacy of KALETRA oral solution containing lopinavir 80 mg/mL and ritonavir 20 mg/mL at a dose of 300/75 mg/m2 twice daily plus two NRTIs in HIV-infected infants ≥14 days and < 6 months of age. Results revealed that infants younger than 6 months of age generally had lower lopinavir AUC12 than older children (6 months to 12 years of age), however, despite the lower lopinavir drug exposure observed, antiviral activity was demonstrated as reflected in the proportion of subjects who achieved HIV-1 RNA <400 copies/mL at Week 24 [see Adverse Reactions (6.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), Clinical Studies].

Safety and efficacy in pediatric patients > 6 months of age was demonstrated in a clinical trial in 100 patients. The clinical trial was an open-label, multicenter trial evaluating the pharmacokinetic profile, tolerability, safety, and efficacy of KALETRA oral solution containing lopinavir 80 mg/mL and ritonavir 20 mg/mL in 100 antiretroviral naïve and experienced pediatric patients ages 6 months to 12 years. Dose selection for patients 6 months to 12 years of age was based on the following results. The 230/57.5 mg/m2 oral solution twice daily regimen without nevirapine and the 300/75 mg/m2 oral solution twice daily regimen with nevirapine provided lopinavir plasma concentrations similar to those obtained in adult patients receiving the 400/100 mg twice daily regimen (without nevirapine) [see Adverse Reactions Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), Clinical Studies].

A prospective multicenter, open-label trial evaluated the pharmacokinetic profile, tolerability, safety and efficacy of high-dose KALETRA with or without concurrent NNRTI therapy (Group 1: 400/100 mg/m2 twice daily + ≥ 2 NRTIs; Group 2: 480/120 mg/m2 twice daily + ≥ 1 NRTI + 1 NNRTI) in 26 children and adolescents ≥ 2 years to < 18 years of age who had failed prior therapy. Patients also had saquinavir mesylate added to their regimen. This strategy was intended to assess whether higher than approved doses of KALETRA could overcome protease inhibitor cross-resistance. High doses of KALETRA exhibited a safety profile similar to those observed in previous trials; changes in HIV-1 RNA were less than anticipated; three patients had HIV-1 RNA <400 copies/mL at Week 48. CD4+ cell count increases were noted in the eight patients who remained on treatment for 48 weeks [see Adverse Reactions Clinical Pharmacology].

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of KALETRA did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, appropriate caution should be exercised in the administration and monitoring of KALETRA in elderly patients reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Hepatic Impairment

KALETRA is principally metabolized by the liver; therefore, caution should be exercised when administering this drug to patients with hepatic impairment, because lopinavir concentrations may be increased [see Warnings and Precautions and Clinical Pharmacology].

Page last updated: 2013-11-06

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