Nevirapine (Oral)

Overview

For patients suffering from HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), Nevirapine is used alongside other drugs to help treat the infection that this causes. HIV is the virus that goes on to cause AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Nevirapine works by reducing the level of HIV in a patient's blood. It can do this because it is known as an NNRTI (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor).

Be aware that this medicine is not able to cure either AIDS or HIV, but it can help to stop HIV from reproducing. In turn, it appears that this helps to slow down the process of your immune system getting destroyed. This can also then help to delay patients developing problems that are caused by HIV or AIDS. Also be aware that this drug does not stop you spreading HIV to others. Even after taking this medicine, patients may still continue to have the problems that are related to HIV and AIDS.

Due to the very sensitive nature of this medicine, and the sorts of patients it is suitable for, you can only get Nevirapine through a doctor's prescription.

Condition(s) treated

  • HIV

Type of medicine

  • Tablet

Side effects

As well as having its intended effects, it is possible that Nevirapine will cause you to experience some unwanted side effects. Some patients may experience no side effects, whereas others may experience multiple.Directly below is a list of the more serious side effects that are possible. If you encounter any of these after taking Nevirapine, you should contact your doctor immediately.

More common

  • Dark urine

Less common

  • Swelling of the lower legs or feet

Below are the symptoms of overdose. If you experience these, then you should seek emergency medical assistance.

  • Pain in the knees or ankles

Instead of these more serious side effects, you could experience some of the less severe ones listed below.If this is the case, then they are not a major cause for concern. In fact, you may well find that as your treatment progresses, they pass as your body becomes accustomed to the medicine. However, if you do experience any of the following and find them lingering or bothersome, then you can still contact your doctor for advice.

Less common

  • Pain in your joints

Though these lists are extensive, they are not necessarily all-inclusive. This means you may experience other side effects not listed here. If this is the case and you would like to discuss your unwanted effects, you should contact your doctor.

Dosage

Below you can find the typical doses of Nevirapine that is given to patients in order to treat HIV infections. Be aware that the exact prescription your doctor gives you may be different from what is below. That is because every patient is different, and your doctor will base your doses of a number of factors. These factors include things such as the extent of your condition, other drugs you are taking, and your age. You should not alter your doses in any way unless your have first been told to do as such by your doctor.

For patients taking extended-release tablets:

  • Adults. To start, take 1 Viramune® immediate-release tablet once per day for a period of 2 weeks. After this, take one 400 mg Viramune® XR® once per day. This is alongside any other HIV medicines you are required to take.

For patients taking oral tablets or suspension:

  • Adults. Take 200mg once per day for a period of 2 weeks. Follow this with 200mg taken twice a day, alongside any other medicine.

It is important that you do not miss any doses, as doing so will alter the effectiveness of your treatment. If you do miss one for any reason, you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, you should skip the missed dose and continue as normal. It is important that you do not double dose.

You should take this medicine in exactly the way your doctor prescribes it to you. This means that you should not take it any longer than required, and should not take it any more frequently. You should only ever change your doses if you have first checked with your doctor. You should be careful in having a ready supply of this medicine available, by contacting your doctor if your supply ever runs low.

Upon receiving this medicine, you will find a medication guide.You should read it carefully every time you renew your prescription. If you have any questions after reading this guide, you should address your queries to your doctor.

You can take Nevirapine with soda, milk, or water, and it can be taken either with or without food.

If you take the oral liquid, you should first shake it gently before use. You should then use a dosing cup or oral dosing syringe in order to get the correct dose. After drinking, you should rinse the cup with water and then drink the water. This is to ensure you drink all of the medicine. If you have a dose that is less than 5ml, you should use the syringe.

If you take the extended-release tablets, you should not chew, crush, or break them. Instead, swallow them whole.

You should keep taking Nevirapine for the full period as prescribed by your doctor. This applies even if you start to feel better.

You should take this medicine as part of a combination treatment. You should be careful in taking all the drugs you have been prescribed at the correct time of day. This will allow all medicines to work properly and give you the most effective form of treatment.

Nevirapine works most effectively when there is a constant supply of the medicine in your blood. In order to keep this level constant, you should not miss any doses. Similarly, you should take each dose at a regular time each day, and ensure these doses are evenly spaced. If you need help planning these times accurately, you can discuss this with your doctor.

Be aware that you should only ever take one dose of Nevirapine at any time. If you have any questions about this, talk to your doctor.

If, for any reason. You need to stop taking this medicine for a period of more than 7 days, then you should talk to your doctor about how to properly start taking it again.

Interactions

It is possible that Nevirapine will interact with other drugs you are currently taking. These interactions can vary in their severity and the impact they have on your treatment. However, you should be careful in explaining to your doctor any and all drugs you are currently taking. This includes both prescription and nonprescription drugs. Your doctor can then decide whether an interaction is likely and whether any drugs you take need to be altered in any way. Directly below is a list of drugs with which it is not recommended you take at the same time as Nevirapine. To avoid any unwanted interactions that would occur, your doctor will likely need to alter either one or both of the medicines.

  • Dasabuvir

It is usually not recommended that you take any of the following medicines at the same time as Nevirapine. However, it may be required in some cases for a patient to still take both medicines. If this is the case, your doctor may wish to alter the dose of one or both medicines in order to limit any interaction.

  • Tacrolimus

If you take any of the following medicines at the same time as Nevirapine, then you may be at an increased risk of experiencing certain side effects. Again, however, it may be best for your treatment to receive both medicines. In such cases, your doctor may then need to alter one or both doses of the interacting medicines.

  • Dalfopristin

As well as interacting with drugs, Nevirapine may interact with certain parts of your dietary intake. Your doctor may, therefore, make alterations to how much or how frequently you smoke, eat, or drink certain substances. For example, you may need to drink less alcohol or smoke less tobacco.

Finally, it is possible that Nevirapine will interact with other medical problems you suffer from. You will need to make your doctor aware of your complete medical history. In particular, be careful in pointing out any of the following problems if you suffer from them.

  • Hepatitis C. USe Nevirapine with caution as the side effects may be made worse

Warnings

Before prescribing you with Nevirapine, your doctor will want to assess the extent of your condition in order to assess whether it is indeed a suitable drug to give you. As a part of this process, you will need to inform them of any allergies you have. This includes allergies to dyes, foods, animals, or preservatives.

As of writing, the suitable studies that have taken place have not indicated any pediatric-specific problems that would make the tablets or suspension form of this medicine any less useful in pediatric patients. However, be aware that no efficacy and safety have been established in children who are younger than 15 days old.

With regards to the extended-release tablets, any studies performed have not indicated any signs that this medicine is less useful for children aged 6 to 17 years old. However, it is not recommended that this medicine is used by patients who are younger than 6 years old.

The suitable studies that have so far taken place have not highlighted any geriatric-specific problems that would make Nevirapine less useful in elderly patients. Although, older patients are more likely to suffer from age-related heart, kidney, or liver problems. This means that greater caution must be exercised and their doses may need to be altered.

As of writing, it appears some studies may have taken place in pregnant women or animals using this drug. However, it is unclear as to whether these studies highlighted any risks at all. Yoru doctor is best informed to make you aware of any increased risks to you or your baby in using this drug. If you become pregnant at the time you are taking this medicine, you should make your doctor aware right away.

As of writing, there are no suitable studies that have been performed on breastfeeding women using this medicine. As such, it is unclear as to whether there are any increased risks. Your doctor is best placed to advise you of any risks and weigh them against the benefits of using this medicine.

Your doctor will schedule regular appointments throughout your treatment. You should attend all of these to allow your doctor to monitor your condition and make any necessary alterations to your treatment.

When using Nevirapine, it is possible that you will experience liver problems. If you have more than one of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away.

  • Clay-colored stools

If you get any sort of rash, even a mild one, whilst taking Nevirapine, tell your doctor. If your rash has is accompanied by any of the following, you should tell your doctor and stop using the medicine immediately.

  • Muscle weakness

After you start taking HIV medicines, you may find that your immune system gets stronger. If you do notice any changes in your health, tell your doctor. It is possible that your immune system will start to fight other infections that had been hidden inside of your body. This includes things like tuberculosis, pneumonia, or herpes. It is possible that autoimmune disease may also occur, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, polymyositis, or Graves' disease.

When taking Nevirapine, you may gain excess body fat.If you notice any change in your body shape, such as more fat around your stomach area, face, upper back or neck, or chest, you should tell your doctor. You may find that you lose fat from areas like your face, legs, or arms.

Nevirapine can alter the effectiveness of some birth control pills. You should, therefore, use additional forms of birth control to avoid getting pregnant whilst taking this medicine. Such forms include contraceptive jelly or foam, a condom, or a diaphragm.

Be aware that this drug does not decrease the risk of you transmitting HIV to others through contaminated blood or sexual conduct. With any partner, even those with HIV, be sure to practice safe sex. Be careful to never share a needle with someone.

You should not take any other medicines at the same time as Nevirapine unless they have first been approved by your doctor. This includes prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as any vitamin or herbal supplements.

Storage

You should store your Nevirapine in a sealed container and keep it at room temperature and away from any direct light, moisture, or heat. You should also never allow the medicine to freeze. You should store it safely away from children and should dispose of any medicine that goes out of date. You should also dispose of any medicine that is left over once your treatment has finished, For advice on how to safely and sensibly dispose of this medicine, you can contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Summary

If you are suffering from HIV, then Nevirapine is just one drug that may be prescribed to you to help reduce the levels of the virus in your blood. Be aware however that this drug is not suitable for everyone, and is therefore only prescribed following an in-depth examination by your doctor. They will give you strict instructions on how to use it, and will likely also give you advice on other lifestyle or dietary changes you should make. You should follow all instructions as closely as you can so as to give yourself the best chances of a beneficial treatment process.

Yoru doctor will want to have regular appointments to track your condition and the treatment, It is important you attend all such appointments. Above, you can find more details regarding the side effects it is possible to experience after taking this medicine. If you notice any of the more severe effects, you should contact your doctor immediately. If you have any other questions about this medicine or your illness in general, you should discuss them with your doctor.