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nelfinavir

Pronunciation: nel FIN a veer

Brand: Viracept

Viracept 250 mg

oblong, blue, imprinted with VIRACEPT, 250 mg

Image of Viracept 250 mg
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What is the most important information I should know about nelfinavir?

Multum donot

Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take nelfinavir with alfuzosin (Uroxatral), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), midazolam (Versed), quinidine (Quin-G), pimozide (Orap), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater), sildenafil (Revatio for pulmonary arterial hypertension), simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync), St. John's wort, triazolam (Halcion), or an ergot medicine such as Ergomar, Ergotrate, Cafergot, Wigraine, D.H.E. 45, Migranal, or Methergine.

There are many other medicines that can interact with nelfinavir. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Multum donot

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

What is nelfinavir?

Nelfinavir is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Nelfinavir is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nelfinavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Nelfinavir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking nelfinavir?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to nelfinavir, or if you have moderate or severe liver disease.

Multum donot

Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take nelfinavir with alfuzosin (Uroxatral), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), midazolam (Versed), quinidine (Quin-G), pimozide (Orap), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater), sildenafil (Revatio for pulmonary arterial hypertension), simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync), St. John's wort, triazolam (Halcion), or an ergot medicine such as Ergomar, Ergotrate, Cafergot, Wigraine, D.H.E. 45, Migranal, or Methergine.

To make sure you can safely take nelfinavir, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • diabetes;
  • a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia; or
  • high cholesterol or triglycerides.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby, but HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of nelfinavir on the baby.

Multum bcp

Nelfinavir can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom or diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking nelfinavir.

Multum nobrfeed

You should not breast-feed while you are using nelfinavir. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

Multum nochild

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 2 years old.

How should I take nelfinavir?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Multum food

Nelfinavir works best if you take it with food.

Swallow the nelfinavir tablet whole.

Multum water

If you cannot swallow a whole tablet, dissolve it in a small amount of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

Use nelfinavir regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

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Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking nelfinavir?

If you also take didanosine, take it 1 hour before or 2 hours after you take nelfinavir.

Multum donot

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

What are the possible side effects of nelfinavir?

Multum emt

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Multum donot

Stop using nelfinavir and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • signs of a new infection, such as fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • rapid heart rate, increased sweating, tremors in your hands, anxiety, feeling irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex;
  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid);
  • muscle weakness, tired feeling, trouble speaking or swallowing, joint or muscle pain, feeling short of breath;
  • weakness or prickly feeling in your fingers or toes;
  • problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement; or
  • severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, gas;
  • mild skin rash; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect nelfinavir?

Multum donot

Many drugs can interact with nelfinavir. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • atorvastatin (Lipitor);
  • bosentan (Tracleer);
  • colchicine (Colcrys);
  • fluticasone (Advair, Flonase, Flovent);
  • itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral);
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose);
  • omeprazole (Prilosec);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • rifabutin (Mycobutin);
  • salmeterol (Advair, Serevent);
  • warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • antidepressants such as trazodone (Desyrel) and others;
  • heart or blood pressure medication such as amlodipine (Norvasc, Caduet, Exforge, Lotrel, Tekamlo, Tribenzor, Twynsta, Amturnide), diltiazem (Tiazac, Cartia, Dilacor), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), or verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan);
  • drugs that weaken the immune system, such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf);
  • insulin or diabetes medication you take by mouth;
  • medicines to treat erectile dysfunction, such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra);
  • other HIV or AIDS medications such as delavirdine (Rescriptor), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra), or saquinavir (Invirase); or
  • seizure medication such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol) or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton).

This list is not complete and there are many other medicines that can interact with nelfinavir. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about nelfinavir.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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