Nevirapine review

There is no cure for HIV or AIDS but Nevirapine seems to be providing some light and hope to afflicted individuals. Find out more how the drug can manage and control the symptoms.

Nevirapine is the generic name of the drug which belongs to a class called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors or NNRTIs. It is primarily used in conjunction with other medications in order to treat HIV or human immunodeficiency virus with or without AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The main function of the medication is to reduce the amount of HIV present in the blood. Nevirapine controls the virus to alleviate symptoms related to the illness but does not cure or prevent HIV.

The medication comes in either tablet or liquid suspension forms which should be taken orally. It also comes under the brand name Viramune. Since HIV can quickly develop resistance against independent antiretroviral medications, Nevirapine is taken together with three or more other drugs during therapy. The FDA approved Nevirapine use together with nucleoside analogues to treat adults with HIV infection. In 1998, the FDA approved its use among children as well.

Just like all drugs, Nevirapine can cause side effects such as headache, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain, pink eye or conjunctivitis, mouth sores, blisters, fever, tingling sensation or numbness of hands and feet, changes in body fat, nausea, fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, jaundice, dark urine, sore throat, loss of appetite and allergic reactions like severe rash, swelling, dizziness, itching and difficulty breathing. It is also possible to have Nevirapine overdose as evidenced by vomiting, weight loss, rashes, dizziness, headache, insomnia, extreme fatigability, painful red bumps on the skin and edema on the extremities.

People with known hypersensitivity to the drug and having a history of liver or kidney disease are contraindicated. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are also prohibited from taking the drug including those who are trying to get pregnant. Special precautions are given to those who have taken delavirdine or efavirenz with no significant effects. Make sure the doctor is aware of all underlying conditions for the patient to safely take Nevirapine. Examples of conditions to watch out for are Hepatitis B or C infections, hepatotoxic reactions, renal dysfunction, granulocytopenia, eosinophilia and lymphadenopathy.

Since Nevirapine belongs to the NNRTI class of antiretrovirals, it works by inhibiting the reverse transcriptase enzyme. The enzyme is important in transcribing viral RNA into DNA thereby reducing overall amount of viruses present in the body. Both nucleoside and non-nucleoside types control the same enzyme but RTIs directly bind at the active site of the enzyme while NNRTIs bind to the NNRTI pocket. The drug is not useful against HIV-2 since it has a whole different structure.

A clinical trial involved treating randomized patients with either Nevirapine, efavirenz or both once or twice daily. 220 patients received 400 mg of Nevirapine once a day, 387 patients received 200 mg of Nevirapine twice a day, 400 patients received 600 mg of efavirenz once a day and 209 patients received 400 mg of Nevirapine plus 800 mg of efavirenz once a day. Results showed that Nevirapine is as useful as efavirenz in antiretroviral therapy with increasing rates of cardiovascular morbidity.

Nevirapine is available at clinics, pharmacies and online drugstores and requires a doctor’s prescription. Not all pharmacies and countries may have the drug readily available. Online stores are more reliable in providing fast deliveries but make sure that you only get from certificated sources to ensure freshness and quality. Check the manufacturer and expiry date.

The usual dose for the medication is 1 200 mg tablet taken once a day for the first 2 weeks followed by 1 200 mg tablet to be taken twice daily. For missed doses, take one as soon as you remember but skip it altogether and take the next dose if it is within 2 hours. Store the drug in a tightly sealed container away from moisture and direct heat.

Nevirapine has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of nevirapine

• Molecular formula of nevirapine is C15H14N4O
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 1-cyclopropyl-5,11-dihydro-4-methyl-6H-dipyrido [3,2-b:2',3'-e][1,4] diazepin-6-one
• Molecular weight is 266.298 g/mol
Nevirapine available : 200mg tablets

Brand name(s): Viramune

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