Generic Name: nelfinavir (nel-FIN-a-vir)
Brand Name: Viracept
Nelfinavir is used for:
Treating HIV infection in combination with other medicines.
Nelfinavir is an HIV protease inhibitor. It works by blocking a substance that is needed for the HIV virus to multiply.
Do NOT use nelfinavir if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in nelfinavir
- you have moderate to severe liver problems
- you are taking alfuzosin, amiodarone, astemizole, carbamazepine, certain benzodiazepines (eg, oral midazolam, triazolam), cisapride, an ergot derivative (eg, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine), certain HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, lovastatin, simvastatin), phenobarbital, pimozide, omeprazole, quinidine, rifampin, salmeterol, St. John's wort, or terfenadine
- you are taking sildenafil for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
- you have taken eletriptan within the past 72 hours
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using nelfinavir:
Some medical conditions may interact with nelfinavir. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have liver or kidney problems, diabetes, high blood sugar, or hemophilia
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with nelfinavir. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Carbamazepine, omeprazole, phenobarbital, rifampin, or St. John's wort because they may decrease nelfinavir's effectiveness
- Alfuzosin, amiodarone, astemizole, certain benzodiazepines (eg, midazolam, triazolam), cisapride, eletriptan, ergot derivatives (eg, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine), certain HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, lovastatin , simvastatin), pimozide, quinidine, salmeterol, sildenafil (when used for PAH), or terfenadine because the risk of their side effects may be increased by nelfinavir
- Many prescription and nonprescription medicines (eg, used for infections, inflammation, aches and pains, allergies, asthma, birth control, blood thinning, cancer, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, gout, HIV, heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heartburn or ulcers, immune system suppression, irregular heartbeat, mental or mood problems, migraine headaches, PAH, seizures, trouble sleeping), multivitamin products, and herbal or dietary supplements (eg, coenzyme Q10, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, herbal teas, St. John's wort) may interact with nelfinavir, increasing the risk of side effects or decreasing effectiveness
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if nelfinavir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use nelfinavir:
Use nelfinavir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with nelfinavir. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Take nelfinavir by mouth with a meal.
- If you are not able to swallow nelfinavir whole, you may crush the tablets and dissolve them in water. Once the medicine is dissolved, mix well and then drink the entire amount right away. Rinse the glass with water and swallow the rinse to be sure that the entire dose is taken.
- If you are taking didanosine, take it at least 1 hour before or more than 2 hours after nelfinavir.
- Take nelfinavir on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it. Taking it at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
- Continue to take nelfinavir even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of nelfinavir, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. If you miss several doses of nelfinavir, check with your doctor.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use nelfinavir.
Important safety information:
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take nelfinavir before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Nelfinavir interacts with many other medicines. The risk of nelfinavir's side effects may be increased or nelfinavir's effectiveness may be decreased. The risk of the other medicines' side effects may also be increased. This may include severe, life-threatening, or fatal side effects. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for you to take nelfinavir with all of your other medicines (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins).
- Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, change the dose, or stop taking nelfinavir without checking with your doctor.
- Nelfinavir is not a cure for HIV infection. Patients may still get illnesses and infections associated with HIV. Remain under the care of your doctor.
- When your medicine supply is low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. Do not stop taking nelfinavir, even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
- Nelfinavir does not stop the spread of HIV to others through blood or sexual contact. Use barrier methods of birth control (eg, condoms) if you have HIV infection. Do not share needles, injection supplies, or items like toothbrushes or razors.
- Hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using nelfinavir. To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control (eg, condoms).
- Changes in body fat (eg, an increased amount of fat in the upper back, neck, breast, and trunk, and loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face) may occur in some patients taking nelfinavir. The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
- Nelfinavir may improve immune system function. This may reveal hidden infections in some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of infection (eg, fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, shortness of breath) after you start nelfinavir.
- Nelfinavir may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
- Diabetes patients - Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Lab tests, including CD4 counts, may be performed while you use nelfinavir. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use nelfinavir with caution in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to it effects, especially loss of appetite and low white blood cell levels.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using nelfinavir while you are pregnant. Mothers infected with HIV should not breast-feed. There is a risk of passing the HIV infection or nelfinavir to the baby.
Possible side effects of nelfinavir:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Diarrhea; gas; loss of appetite; nausea; stomach pain.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fever, chills, or sore throat; mental or mood changes; suicidal thoughts or actions; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, confusion; flushed face; fruit-like breath odor; increased thirst, hunger, or urination; unusual drowsiness); unusual bleeding or bruising.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of nelfinavir:
Store nelfinavir at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in its original container. Store away from heat, light, and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep nelfinavir out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about nelfinavir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Nelfinavir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take nelfinavir or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about nelfinavir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to nelfinavir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using nelfinavir.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More about nelfinavir
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- Drug class: protease inhibitors
Other brands: Viracept