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Nevirapine

Nevirapine

What is nevirapine?

Nevirapine is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children. Nevirapine is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.

Nevirapine comes in three different forms: immediate-release tablets and oral suspension (a liquid), and extended-release tablets. The immediate-release tablet and liquid forms of nevirapine are approved for use in adults and children 15 days and older. The extended-release tablets are approved for use in adults and in children 6 to less than 18 years of age.

Nevirapine belongs to a class (group) of HIV drugs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). NNRTIs attach to and block an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase. (An enzyme is a protein that starts or increases the speed of a chemical reaction.) By blocking reverse transcriptase, NNRTIs prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.

HIV medicines can’t cure HIV/AIDS, but taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Uses

This drug is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Nevirapine belongs to a class of drugs known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).

Nevirapine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Nevirapine should not be used to prevent HIV infection after accidental exposure (such as needle sticks, blood/bodily fluid contact). Different HIV medications are used to prevent infection after exposure.

How to use Nevirapine

Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using nevirapine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily for the first 14 days when you start treatment, then twice daily or as directed by your doctor.

If liver problems or skin/allergic reactions occur while you are taking this medication once daily, seek immediate medical attention and do not increase the dose to twice daily.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Nevirapine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children 15 days of age and older. Nevirapine should not be used to treat healthcare workers or other individuals exposed to HIV infection after contact with HIV-contaminated blood, tissues, or other body fluids. 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, an extended-release tablet, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth with or without food. The tablet and suspension are usually taken once a day for 2 weeks and then twice a day after the first 2 weeks. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once a day, following at least two weeks of treatment with regular nevirapine tablets or suspension. 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.

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.

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