Nevirapine is used together with other medicines to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection which can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
This medicine is not a cure for HIV infection. It only helps to keep the virus in check and can help improve the quality of life. It does not prevent the spread of HIV to other people.
Take Nevirapine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Nevirapine is available as a tablet or as an oral suspension.
If you are taking the extended-release type of tablet (usually labeled “ER”), swallow it whole. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet.
If you are taking an oral suspension, shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the oral dosing syringe or dosing cup provided to measure out your prescribed dose. Make sure the whole dose is taken. If you are using the dosing cup, fill the cup with water after you have taken the measured dose and drink this water as well to make sure all the medicine is taken.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the dose and course of the treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Nevirapine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it suddenly as this may worsen your condition.
If you have stopped taking this medicine for more than 7 days, DO NOT restart Nevirapine without first consulting your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take this medicine if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to Nevirapine.
Alert your doctor if you have severe liver disease as Nevirapine may not be suitable for you.
Alert your doctor if you have previously received Nevirapine but stopped taking it due to side effects such as severe skin rash or liver problems.
Do not take Nevirapine with St John's Wort.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease, including hepatitis B and/or C infection
- undergoing dialysis treatment
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
Inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding. It is best that you do not breastfeed as HIV passes into the breast milk. Avoid breastfeeding in order to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby. It is recommended to give your baby commercial infant formula provided that you have access to clean water and facilities.
Nevirapine does not reduce your risk of passing HIV infection to others through sexual contact or through contamination with infected blood. Ensure that you use proper precautions to avoid spreading HIV infection to others.
Both Nevirapine and HIV may weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. Avoid crowded places or those who are sick to minimise the risk of catching an infection. While undergoing treatment, you may develop other infections or experience other health problems. Always keep your doctor updated on your condition.
Birth control pills may not be as effective when taken with Nevirapine. If you are taking birth control pills, discuss with your doctor about the need to use another birth control method like condoms to ensure effective birth control.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. liver function test, amount of HIV in a blood sample) while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Nevirapine may cause any of the following side effects: rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, tiredness, fever, headache, muscle pain and increased or decreased amounts of fat in different body parts.
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop taking Nevirapine and inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- signs of liver problems e.g. yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, light coloured stool, abdominal pain, persistent tiredness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- signs of infection e.g. fever, chills, night sweats, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, mouth sore, tiredness, persistent cough, painful or burning sensation when urinating
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for HIV infection e.g. atazanavir, fosamprenavir, efavirenz, rilpivirine
- medicines for Hepatitis C infection e.g. boceprevir, telaprevir
- medicine for TB (infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
- antibiotics e.g. clarithromycin
- medicines for epilepsy (fits) e.g. carbamazepine
- medicines to treat fungal infection e.g. ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole
- medicines used in the treatment of opiate addiction e.g. methadone
- blood clotting medicine e.g. warfarin
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Nevirapine.
Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as its effectiveness can be reduced by Nevirapine. You should not stop or start any birth control pills without first informing your doctor. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with this medicine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol and St John's Wort.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
The oral suspension should be used within 6 months after opening.