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What is Nevirapine?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Nevirapine is a medication used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in patients who may or may not have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This drug is not a cure for HIV, however it may help slow the disease's progression. Patients will be prescribed other medications along with nevirapine to help manage their condition. This drug, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), works by delaying the replication of the HIV virus.

Patients will typically take nevirapine once daily for two weeks, and then twice daily thereafter, however they must follow the doctor's specific instructions if it differs from this schedule. This drug may be taken as a tablet or a liquid, with or without food. Patients should take each dose with a full glass of water at the same time each day to maintain a constant level of medicine in their bodies. Adults will usually take 200 milligrams (mg) once or twice daily. To best manage HIV, it is essential for people to take all their dosages and avoid discontinuing the drug except under the doctor's direction.

Nevirapine is used in some HIV-positive individuals as one component of a daily treatment regimen.
Nevirapine is used in some HIV-positive individuals as one component of a daily treatment regimen.

Those who experience any side effects should immediately get medical help, as these can indicate the presence of complications, such as liver damage. Side effects can include fever, chills, and cough. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur, along with numbness, tingling, and loss of appetite. Shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, and upper right stomach pain may also occur. Skin rashes or lesions, sores in the mouth or on the lip, and jaundice have been reported.

People taking nevirapine should also be aware of the possible effects of an overdose. They may experience chest pain, dizziness, and pain in the knees or ankles. Vertigo, insomnia, and headaches may also occur. An overdose of nevirapine may also cause the appearance of red lumps beneath the skin that are painful, which will usually appear on the legs. To avoid an overdose, patients should follow dosing instructions carefully.

Nevirapine may be contraindicated for patients with certain other medical conditions, such as hepatitis B or C, liver disease, and kidney disease. This drug is not known to cause harm to an unborn baby, however, as of 2011, it is unknown whether it passes into breast milk. Other medications and supplements should also be disclosed, such as St. John's wort, blood thinners, and antifungal drugs. Nevirapine may lessen the efficacy of hormonal birth control pills, and may also interact with chemotherapy drugs, medications for seizures, and other HIV drugs.

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    • Nevirapine is used in some HIV-positive individuals as one component of a daily treatment regimen.
      By: mykeyruna
      Nevirapine is used in some HIV-positive individuals as one component of a daily treatment regimen.