Viramune (Nevirapine) This drug is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Nevirapine belongs to a class of drugs known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).
Nevirapine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Nevirapine should not be used to prevent HIV infection after accidental exposure (such as needle sticks, blood/bodily fluid contact). Different HIV medications are used to prevent infection after exposure.
WARNINGS: Rarely, nevirapine has caused severe (sometimes fatal) liver problems. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of liver problems such as persistent nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, yellowing eyes/skin, unusual tiredness, rash.
Rarely, nevirapine has also caused serious (sometimes fatal) skin/allergic reactions. Get medical help right away if you have any signs of skin/allergic reactions, including rash, itching/swelling/redness (especially of the eyes/face), blisters, fever, persistent sore throat, unusual tiredness, mouth sores, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), muscle pain/tenderness/weakness, joint pain.
Women are at increased risk for developing these severe reactions. To help decrease the risk of skin/allergic reactions in all patients, nevirapine is started at a lower dose for the first 14 days. Also, people with higher T-cell counts at the start of nevirapine treatment are at greater risk for liver problems. Therefore, nevirapine is usually only started if the T-cell count is fewer than 250 in women or fewer than 400 in men.
Keep all medical and laboratory appointments so your doctor can monitor how you are responding to nevirapine. The risk of these serious side effects is high in the first 18 weeks and highest during the first 6 weeks of nevirapine treatment. However, these side effects may occur at any time while taking this medication.
If you have stopped taking nevirapine because of liver problems or skin/allergic reactions, you must never take any form of nevirapine again. Tell all of your doctors and pharmacists if you have ever stopped taking nevirapine because of these types of reactions.