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Nevirapine

Nevirapine  Uses

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.

How to use Nevirapine

Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using nevirapine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily for the first 14 days when you start treatment, then twice daily or as directed by your doctor.

If liver problems or skin/allergic reactions occur while you are taking this medication once daily, seek immediate medical attention and do not increase the dose to twice daily.

If you are using the liquid suspension form of this medication, shake the bottle gently before each dose. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you are using a dosing cup, rinse the cup with water after taking the medication and drink all of the rinse water to make sure you take the full dose.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on body size.

Do not stay on the once-daily dosing schedule for more than 28 days. If you approach that period of time, your doctor should consider switching you to another medication. Consult your doctor for more details.

If you stop taking this medication for more than 7 days for reasons other than the serious reactions described in the Warning section, ask your doctor for directions on how to restart treatment. You may need to take this medication once daily again for the first 14 days to decrease the risk of serious side effects.

It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Do not increase your dose, take this drug more often than prescribed, or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.

For the best effect, take this medication at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same times every day.

Nevirapine  Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Tiredness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may occur. Drowsiness may rarely occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away, headaches that are severe or don't go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).

Nevirapine can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction. Therefore, seek immediate medical attention if you develop any rash.

Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (such as increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor, as well as the possible use of exercise to reduce this side effect.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. See the Warning section for more details.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Nevirapine  Precautions

Before taking nevirapine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis), kidney dialysis, lactose or galactose intolerance.

This drug may rarely make you drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby, and nevirapine may be part of that treatment. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

Nevirapine passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Nevirapine  Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: orlistat, rifabutin, warfarin.

Other medications can affect the removal of nevirapine from your body, which may affect how nevirapine works. Examples include rifamycins (such as rifampin), St. John's wort, among others.

Nevirapine can speed up the removal of many other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include antiarrhythmics (such as amiodarone), asunaprevir, cobicistat, elvitegravir, some drugs used to treat seizures (such as clonazepam), azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin), methadone, telaprevir, among others.

Some other drugs to treat HIV infection (including protease inhibitors such as atazanavir, ritonavir) may also interact with nevirapine. Your doctor will adjust your medications and monitor your treatment to reduce the risk of side effects.

Do not use prednisone to prevent a rash because it can actually increase the risk of a rash during the first 6 weeks of nevirapine treatment. Ask your doctor for more details.

This medication may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring. This could cause pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about additional or alternative reliable forms of birth control, and always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity to decrease the risk of spreading HIV to others. Tell your doctor if you have any new spotting or breakthrough bleeding, because these may be signs that your hormonal birth control is not working well.

Note:  We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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