Indinavir is a protease inhibitor not recommended for first-line therapy however highly treatment-experienced people often benefit from salvage combinations containing indinavir, with or without ritonavir boosting.  

There is some evidence that indinavir can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and reach sufficient concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid to be active against HIV in the central nervous system.

People taking indinavir should drink at least one and a half litres of fluid a day to reduce the risk of kidney problems. The extra water should be taken with each indinavir dose and before going to bed.

Basic info

Generic name indinavir
Brand name Crixivan
Also known as MK-639 and L-735,524
Drug class Protease Inhibitors
Pediatric dosing? Available in doses suitable for children and/or young people.
Availability in Australia Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) through S100 prescribers since
This drug may be available through clinical trials in Australia.
You may be able to import this drug from overseas for your personal use.
Formulation 400mg capsules

Taking it

Like most anti-HIV drugs, indinavir must be taken in combination with other drugs to be completely effective. Commonly, indinavir is combined with one other nucleoside (NRTI) drug and either a protease inhibitor or non-nucleoside, although other combinations are sometimes used. Your doctor will advise you on the right combination of drugs to suit your circumstances.


Two 400mg capsules on an empty stomach three times a day or

Two 400mg capsules + 100-200mg ritonavir with or without food twice a day

Note: you must drink at least 1.5 litres of water daily

Regardless of what you read on this website or elsewhere, you should always take your medications according to your doctor's instructions. If you're unsure, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

With or without food

indinavir must be taken on an empty stomach

Side effect

All drugs can produce side effects in some people. These may be mild, moderate or severe, so you should be aware of potential side effects before starting any drug, and speak to your doctor if you experience side effects that concern you.

  • Common side effects may include nausea (upset stomach, feeling sick to the stomach), vomiting, headache, rash, fatigue, abdominal pain, bloating, dry skin, gas, altered taste.
  • Less common side effects may include anaemia, ingrown toenails, kidney stones, jaundice.
  • Rare side effects may include lipodystrophy, diabetes, insulin resistance.
  • It's unlikely you will experience all of these side effects, and you may not experience any side effects at all. Before starting any new drug, ask your doctor about side effects you might experience and discuss strategies for dealing with side effects if they do occur. If you experience any significant side effect you should continue taking your medicine and see your doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions with other drugs

Drugs to watch out for include other ARVs, drugs to treat tuberculosis, for erectile dysfunction (such as Viagra), for heart rhythm (antiarrhythmics) and for migraine headaches. Interactions are also possible with several antihistamines (allergy medications), sedatives, drugs to lower cholesterol, and anti-fungal drugs.