Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: 6/1/22

Rukobia is a novel HIV-1 medication in a class of antiretroviral medications called attachment inhibitors. Rukobia was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2020 to be used in combination with other antiretroviral therapies.1

The medication is approved for use in adults who have not had success with previous HIV-1 treatment therapies due to resistance, intolerance, or safety factors.1,2

Although Rukobia is not a cure for HIV, when taken as directed, it allows for the virus to be suppressed. This prevents further transmission of HIV and allows an individual’s immune system to improve through increasing CD4 cell counts and decreasing the amount of active virus in the blood (viral load).2

What are the ingredients in Rukobia?

The main ingredient in Rukobia is fostemsavir. Fostemsavir is an HIV-1 attachment inhibitor.2,3

How Rukobia treats HIV

Rukobia is a novel attachment inhibitor that works by blocking HIV from attaching to host cells. It attaches to the envelope protein that forms the spikes on the outer covering of HIV cells. This keeps the virus from attaching to the CD4 receptors on T-cells.4

Possible side effects

As with any medication, side effects can occur when taking Rukobia. Side effects and their severity can vary among individuals.

In clinical trials, the most common side effect of Rukobia (fostemsavir) is nausea. Other side effects include:3

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (a worsening of a known condition or a new condition appearing after starting antiretroviral therapy)
  • Rash
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting

Less common side effects can include:3

Serious side effects include changes in liver function, heart rhythm, and immune reconstitution syndrome (IRIS). These are not all the possible side effects of Rukobia. Talk to your doctor about what to expect with treatment with Rukobia.

Things to note

Rukobia can interact with other drugs, so tell your doctor if you are currently taking any other prescription medication, over-the-counter medications, or any supplements. This includes oral birth control, statins, and any herbal or “natural” products.

There is not enough information about Rukobia and pregnancy to know if this drug is safe to take when pregnant. The risk of birth defects and miscarriage is not known.3 Prior to going on this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether this medication is safe to take while breastfeeding, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that mothers who are HIV positive do not breastfeed their infants to reduce the risk of HIV transmission through breastmilk.3

Clinical trials did not include enough individuals over the age of 65 years to see if they responded differently to the drug, so caution should be used in this population.

If you have any questions or concerns about this drug or if you have any other health issues or conditions, talk with your doctor about whether Rukobia is appropriate for you to take.

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