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Viracept Side Effects

Generic name: nelfinavir

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 15, 2024.

Note: This document contains side effect information about nelfinavir. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Viracept.

Applies to nelfinavir: oral tablet.

Serious side effects of Viracept

Along with its needed effects, nelfinavir (the active ingredient contained in Viracept) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking nelfinavir:

Less common

Incidence not known

Other side effects of Viracept

Some side effects of nelfinavir may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nelfinavir: oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet.


Most side effects were of mild severity. The most common side effect was diarrhea, which was usually of mild to moderate severity.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (up to 20%)

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, flatulence

Frequency not reported: Abdominal pain, dyspepsia, epigastric pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, increased amylase, mouth ulceration, pancreatitis, vomiting[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Decreased lymphocytes, decreased neutrophils, decreased hemoglobin

Frequency not reported: Anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia

HIV protease inhibitor therapy:

-Frequency not reported: Increased bleeding (including spontaneous skin hematomas, hemarthrosis) in hemophiliacs[Ref]

Increased bleeding (including spontaneous skin hematomas and hemarthrosis) in patients with hemophilia type A and B has been associated with protease inhibitors. In many of the reported cases, treatment with protease inhibitors was continued or restarted and some patients required additional factor VIII. A causal relationship between protease inhibitor therapy and these episodes has not been established.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Elevated AST, elevated ALT

Frequency not reported: Elevated GGT, abnormal liver function tests, hepatitis

Postmarketing reports: Jaundice, bilirubinemia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Elevated creatine kinase

Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, arthritis, back pain, cramps, increased creatine phosphokinase, myalgia, myasthenia, myopathy[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash

Frequency not reported: Dermatitis, folliculitis, fungal dermatitis, maculopapular rash, pruritus, sweating, urticaria[Ref]

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Dizziness, headache, hyperkinesia, migraine, paresthesia, seizures, somnolence[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Accidental injury, asthenia, fever, malaise, pain[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Dyspnea, pharyngitis, rhinitis, sinusitis[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: QTc prolongation, torsades de pointes[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anorexia, increased alkaline phosphatase, increased LDH, hyperlipidemia, hyperuricemia, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, dehydration, redistribution/accumulation of body fat

Postmarketing reports: Metabolic acidosis

Combination antiretroviral therapy:

-Frequency not reported: Redistribution/accumulation of body fat (including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement, peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, "cushingoid appearance")

HIV protease inhibitor therapy:

-Postmarketing reports: New onset diabetes mellitus, exacerbation of preexisting diabetes mellitus, hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anxiety, depression, emotional lability, insomnia, sleep disorder, suicidal ideation[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Allergic reaction

Postmarketing reports: Hypersensitivity reactions (including bronchospasm, moderate to severe rash, fever, edema)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Kidney calculus[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Sexual dysfunction, urine abnormality[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Immune reconstitution/reactivation syndrome, autoimmune disorders in the setting of immune reconstitution (e.g., Graves' disease, polymyositis, Guillain-Barre syndrome)


Frequency not reported: Acute iritis, eye disorder[Ref]


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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.