Why is this medication prescribed?
Nevirapine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Nevirapine is in a class of medications called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although nevirapine does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.
How should this medicine be used?
Nevirapine comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day for 2 weeks and twice a day after the first 2 weeks. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take nevirapine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow nevirapine with liquids such as water, milk, or soda.
Shake the liquid gently before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use an oral dosing cup or dosing syringe to measure your dose. It is best to use a syringe, especially if your dose is less than 5 mL (1 teaspoon). If you use a dosing cup, first drink all of the medication that you measured in the dosing cup. Then fill the dosing cup with water and drink the water to be sure that you get your full dose.
Nevirapine may control HIV but will not cure it. Continue to take nevirapine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking nevirapine or any of the other medications that you are taking to treat HIV or AIDS without talking to your doctor.Your doctor will probably tell you to stop taking your medications in a certain order. If you miss doses or stop taking nevirapine, your condition may become more difficult to treat.
If you do not take nevirapine for 7 days or longer, do not start taking it again without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will start you on a low dose of nevirapine, and increase your dose after 2 weeks.
Other uses for this medicine
Nevirapine is also sometimes used to prevent unborn babies whose mothers have HIV or AIDS from becoming infected with HIV during birth.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking nevirapine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to nevirapine or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin);certain antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and voriconazole (Vfend); calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan); clarithromycin (Biaxin);certain cancer chemotherapy medications such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan); cisapride (Propulsid); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); ergot alkaloids such as ergotamine (Cafergot, Ercaf, others); fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq); medications for irregular heartbeat such as amiodarone (Cordarone) and disopyramide (Norpace); medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), clonazepam (Klonopin), and ethosuximide (Zarontin); methadone (Dolophine), other medications for HIV or AIDS such as amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz), efavirenz (Sustiva), indinavir (Crixivan), lopinavir and ritonavir combination (Kaletra), nelfinavir (Viracept), and saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase); prednisone (Deltasone); rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); sirolimus (Rapamune);and tacrolimus (Prograf). Many other medications may interact with nevirapine, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you more carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, especially if you are being treated with dialysis (treatment to clean the blood outside the body when the kidneys are not working well).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking nevirapine, call your doctor. You should not breast-feed if you are infected with HIV or are taking nevirapine.
- tell your doctor if you are taking oral contraceptives (‘birth control pills’) to prevent pregnancy. Nevirapine may interfere with the action of oral contraceptives. Talk to your doctor about other methods of birth control that will work for you.
- you should know that your body fat may increase or move to other areas of your body such as your breasts, waist, or upper back.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Nevirapine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the symptoms listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately.