Protease inhibitors (PIs)

Protease inhibitors interrupt HIV replication at a late stage in its life cycle. PIs bind the active site on the HIV enzyme known as protease. Protease cleaves the long inactive protein strands produced during viral protein synthesis into active viral component proteins. Without protease, those long strands remain inactive and the virion fails to mature.

Drugs in this class are associated with metabolic abnormalities including dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, lipodystrophy, etc.

Generic name
Adverse Events
Atazanavir Jaundice, elevated liver function tests (LFT), PR interval elongation
Darunavir Rash, LFTs,
Indinavir Nephrolithiasis, jaundice, LFTs, alopecia, insomnia, taste alteration
Nelfinavir DNV, LFTs, fatigue
Ritonavir/Lopinavir Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting (DNV), dyslipidemai, LFTs, taste alteration
Saquinavir DNV, LFTs, headache, oral ulceration
Tipranavir DNV, LFTs, rash, intracranial hemorrhage



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Click on the interactive diagram HIV Virus: Anatomy and Physiology and review the Maturation phase.
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Protease inhibitors interfere with maturation of HIV by cutting p55 and p160.