Nevirapine (By mouth)


Nevirapine (ne-VIR-a-peen)

Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nevirapine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but combination therapy including nevirapine may slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s)

Viramune, Viramune O/S, Viramune XR

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to nevirapine or have moderate or severe liver problems.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Take all other medicines your doctor prescribed as part of your combination treatment. Do not change your dose or stop using the medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Shake the oral liquid gently just before you use it. Use a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup to measure the right dose. If you are using a medicine cup, make sure you drink the full dose of medicine. After you swallow the medicine, add some water to the cup and drink the water. This will help make sure you get the full dose of medicine.
  • Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Do not take more than one form of nevirapine at the same time. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
  • Take this medicine at the same time each day and do not miss any doses. Contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time when your supply of this medicine is running low. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine. The amount of medicine in your blood needs to be the same all the time.
  • If you stop taking this medicine for more than 7 days, talk to your doctor before you start taking it again.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • You should not take atazanavir (Reyataz®), fosamprenavir (Lexiva®), itraconazole (Sporanox®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®), or St John's wort while being treated with this medicine, unless your doctor says it is okay.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use other medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as efavirenz, indinavir, lopinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, Crixivan®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Sustiva®). Tell your doctor if you use cisapride (Propulsid®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), ergotamine (Ergomar®, Ergostat®), fluconazole (Diflucan®), methadone (Dolophine®), or rifabutin (Mycobutin®).
  • Tell your doctor if you use a narcotic pain reliever (such as fentanyl, Sublimaze®), medicine to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, clonazepam, ethosuximide, Klonopin®, Tegretol®, Zarontin®), medicine that weakens the immune system (such as cyclosporine, sirolimus, tacrolimus, Gengraf®, Neoral®, Protopic®, Rapamune®, Sandimmune®), medicine to treat heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, disopyramide, lidocaine, Cordarone®, Norpace®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), certain blood pressure medicines (such as diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil, Adalat®, Calan®, Cardizem®), or birth control pills.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you have liver disease (including hepatitis B or C).
  • You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you might give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have dark urine or pale stools, yellow skin or eyes, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or upper stomach pain. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis. Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) may also occur.
  • Tell your doctor if you get any type of skin rash, even a mild rash. Stop using the medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have a rash with blisters, a fever, mouth sores, red or irritated eyes, swelling of the face, muscle or joint pain, or unusual tiredness.
  • Birth control pills may not work as well while you use this medicine. To keep from getting pregnant, use another form of birth control along with your pills.
  • This medicine may cause you to have changes in your body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice an increased amount of fat in your upper back and neck or around your chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in the upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Red or swollen eyes, mouth sores
  • Swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in your neck, armpit, or groin
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

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