Lopinavir-ritonavir combination is being used for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. A low dose of ritonavir is added to other protease inhibitors to take advantage of potent inhibition of cytochrome (CYP) P450 3A4, thereby significantly increasing the plasma concentration of coadministered lopinavir. Ritonavir also inhibits CYP2D6 and induces CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, and CYP1A2. This potent, time-dependent interference of major hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes by ritonavir leads to several clinically important drug-drug interactions. A number of patients presenting with acute coronary syndrome and acute heart failure may have SARS-CoV-2 infection simultaneously. Lopinavir-ritonavir is added to their prescription of multiple cardiac medications leading to potential drug-drug interactions. Many cardiology, pulmonology, and intensivist physicians have never been exposed to clinical scenarios requiring co-prescription of cardiac and antiviral therapies. Therefore, it is essential to enumerate these drug-drug interactions, to avoid any serious drug toxicity, to consider alternate and safer drugs, and to ensure better patient care.
About The Expert
Sanjeev Kumar Agarwal