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(saquinavir mesylate) Capsules


Product identification in this document includes: INVIRASE in reference to saquinavir mesylate; saquinavir 200 mg soft gel capsule formulation1 in reference to saquinavir active base.

1The term “saquinavir soft gel capsules” used in this label refers to the drug product formerly marketed as “Fortovase” (saquinavir 200 mg soft gel capsule formulation). This formulation has been withdrawn from the market.


INVIRASE brand of saquinavir mesylate is an inhibitor of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease.

The chemical name for saquinavir mesylate is N-tert-butyl-decahydro-2-[2(R)-hydroxy-4-phenyl-3(S)-[[N-(2quinolylcarbonyl)-L-asparaginyl]amino]butyl]-(4aS,8aS)-isoquinoline-3(S)-carboxamide methanesulfonate with a molecular formula C38H50N6O5•CH4O3S and a molecular weight of 766.96. The molecular weight of the free base is 670.86. Saquinavir mesylate has the following structural formula:

INVIRASE® (saquinavir mesylate)Structural Formula Illustration

Saquinavir mesylate is a white to off-white, very fine powder with an aqueous solubility of 2.22 mg per mL at 25°C.

INVIRASE is available as light brown and green, opaque hard gelatin capsules for oral administration in a 200-mg strength (as saquinavir free base). Each capsule also contains the inactive ingredients lactose, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone K30, sodium starch glycolate, talc, and magnesium stearate. Each capsule shell contains gelatin and water with the following dye systems: red iron oxide, yellow iron oxide, black iron oxide, FD&C Blue #2, and titanium dioxide.

INVIRASE is also available as a light orange to greyish- or brownish-orange, oval cylindrical, biconvex film-coated tablet for oral administration in 500-mg strength (as saquinavir free base). Each tablet also contains the inactive ingredients lactose, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone K30, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate. Each film coat contains hypromellose, titanium dioxide, talc, iron oxide yellow, iron oxide red, and triacetin.

What are the possible side effects of saquinavir (Invirase)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking saquinavir and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • increased thirst or urination, excessive hunger, fruity breath odor;
  • cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, mouth and throat ulcers;
  • any type of infection, skin infection, or open sores;
  • rapid...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Invirase »

What are the precautions when taking saquinavir mesylate (Invirase)?

Before taking saquinavir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: lipid problems (high cholesterol or triglycerides/fats), diabetes, hemophilia, liver problems.

Saquinavir may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.

The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you...

Read All Potential Precautions of Invirase »

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/28/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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