- HIV AIDS Myths and Facts Slideshow Pictures
- Take the HIV/AIDS Quiz
- AIDS Retrospective Slideshow Pictures
- What is nevirapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for nevirapine?
- Is nevirapine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for nevirapine?
- What are the side effects of nevirapine?
- What is the dosage for nevirapine?
- Is nevirapine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about nevirapine?
What is nevirapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Nevirapine is an oral medication that is used for the treatment of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is in a class of drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors that also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), didanosine (Videx), and lamivudine (Epivir). It is in a subclass of protease inhibitors called nonnucleoside protease inhibitors that includes efavirenz (Sustiva) and delavirdine (Rescriptor). During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. The newly-formed viruses then are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, the infection spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new viruses, the HIV virus must manufacture new DNA for each virus. Reverse transcriptase is the enzyme that the virus uses to form this new DNA. Nevirapine directly inhibits the activity of reverse transcriptase and blocks the production of DNA and new viruses. Nevirapine does not kill existing HIV virus and it is not a cure for HIV. The FDA approved nevirapine in September 1996.
What are the side effects of nevirapine?
The most common side effects of nevirapine are:
The most serious side effects of nevirapine are:
- liver failure,
- severe skin reactions,
- decreased white blood cells, and
- muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis).
Like other antiretroviral drugs, use of nevirapine is associated with redistribution or accumulation of body fat. Immune reconstitution syndrome which is an inflammatory response to infection may occur in patients treated with combination anti-HIV therapy.
What is the dosage for nevirapine?
The starting dose for adults is 200 mg daily (lead-in period). After 14 days the dose should be increased to 200 mg every 12 hours or 400 mg of extended release once daily. The 14 day lead-in period must be observed in order to reduce the incidence of rash, and it should not be longer than 28 days. Any patient who develops a rash during the lead-in period should not receive twice daily treatment or extended release tablets until the rash has resolved. Nevirapine must be administered in combination with other anti-HIV drugs because the HIV virus quickly becomes resistant nevirapine when it is used alone. Nevirapine may be administered without regard to meals since food does not reduce its absorption.
Is nevirapine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Nevirapine is excreted in human breast milk. Nursing should be discontinued during nevirapine therapy. In addition, HIV infected mothers should not nurse because of the risk of transmitting HIV to an infant that is not infected.
nevirapine (Viramune, Viramune XR) is a drug used in conjunction with other anti-HIV drugs for the treatment of HIV infection. Side effects, drug interactions, pregnancy safety, and warnings and precautions should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
HIV & AIDS Quiz: HIV Testing & Symptoms
Now, more than ever, you should know about HIV/AIDS, especially its causes, symptoms treatments, and complications. Take the...
Picture of HIV/AIDS
Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). See a picture of HIV/AIDS...
Related Disease Conditions
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes HIV infection and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms and signs...
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. Symptoms and signs of AIDS include pneumonia due to Pneumocystis jiroveci,...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- HIV-AIDS FAQs
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Baby "Cured" of HIV Infection
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Resources for Staying Well
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.