Drug information

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Brand Name
Viramune XR, Viramune
Other Names
NVP, extended-release nevirapine
Drug Class
Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)
Drug Image(s): (Click to enlarge)
What are the most important things to know about nevirapine? What are the most important things to know about nevirapine?

What are the most important things to know about nevirapine?

Nevirapine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include liver problems and severe skin rash and allergic reactions. Liver problems and skin rash and allergic reactions can happen at any time during treatment with nevirapine, but your risk is greatest during the first 18 weeks of treatment.

Some people taking nevirapine have had liver problems. People at higher risk of developing liver problems while taking nevirapine include women; individuals with a history of hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) or who have elevated results on liver function tests; and individuals with higher CD4 counts (higher than 250 cells/mm3 in women and higher than 400 cells/mm3 in men) when starting nevirapine.

Stop taking nevirapine and contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:

  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite for several days or longer
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach/abdominal area
  • Itching

Contact your health care provider right away if you develop a rash while taking nevirapine. Stop taking nevirapine and get medical help right away if you develop a rash with any of the following symptoms:

  • General ill feeling
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Fever
  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Blisters or sores in your mouth
  • Redness or swelling of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Swelling of your face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

If your health care provider tells you to stop treatment with nevirapine because of serious liver or skin problems, you should never take nevirapine again.

While taking nevirapine, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.

What is nevirapine?What is nevirapine?

What is nevirapine?

Nevirapine (brand names: Viramune and Viramune XR) is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children. Nevirapine comes in three different forms: immediate-release tablets, oral suspension (a liquid), and extended-release tablets. The immediate-release tablet and liquid forms of nevirapine are approved for use in adults and children. The extended-release tablets are approved for use in adults and in children 6 years of age and older who meet certain height and weight requirements. Nevirapine is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.

For more information on the use of nevirapine in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.

Nevirapine may also be used to prevent mother-to-child transmission (perinatal transmission) of HIV. When used to prevent mother-to-child transmission, nevirapine may be given to infants after birth.

For more information on the use of nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.

HIV medicines cannot cure HIV/AIDS, but taking HIV medicines every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, do not cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking nevirapine?What should I tell my health care provider before taking nevirapine?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking nevirapine?

Before taking nevirapine, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to nevirapine or any other medicines.
  • If you have or have ever had hepatitis or other liver problems.
  • If you receive dialysis.
  • If you have trouble swallowing pills.
  • If you have any other medical conditions.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking nevirapine during pregnancy. For more information on the use of nevirapine during pregnancy, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
  • If you are using hormone-based birth control (such as pills, implants, or vaginal rings). Your health care provider can help you decide how to adjust your birth control while you are taking nevirapine. For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the HIVinfo HIV and Birth Control infographic.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products, especially St. John's wort, you are taking or plan to take. Nevirapine may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how nevirapine works. Taking nevirapine together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.
How should I take nevirapine?How should I take nevirapine?

How should I take nevirapine?

Nevirapine comes in the following forms and strengths:

  • 200-mg immediate-release tablets
  • 100-mg extended-release tablets (only available in generic form)
  • 400-mg extended-release tablets
  • 50-mg/5 mL oral suspension

Take nevirapine according to your health care provider’s instructions. Do not miss a dose of nevirapine, and do not change your dose or stop taking nevirapine without first talking with your health care provider.

To reduce the risk of getting a serious skin rash, only one dose of immediate-release nevirapine is given each day for the first 14 days of treatment. If you do not have any reactions to nevirapine during the 14-day lead-in period, follow your health care provider’s instructions for taking one immediate-release nevirapine tablet twice daily or switching to extended-release nevirapine. If you get a skin rash during the 14-day lead-in period, call your health care provider right away. Do not increase your nevirapine dose to two times a day or switch to taking nevirapine extended-release tablets if you have a rash.

Take nevirapine with or without food.

Never take more than one form of nevirapine at the same time.

The extended-release tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be chewed, crushed, or divided.

Nevirapine oral suspension is a liquid. Shake it gently before each use, and use an oral dosing syringe or dosing cup to measure the right dose. If the dose is less than one teaspoon (5 mL), use a syringe to measure the dose. (Ask your pharmacist for a syringe or dosing cup if you do not have one.) After drinking the medicine, fill the dosing cup with water and drink it to make sure you get all the medicine.

Always take nevirapine in combination with other HIV medicines.

If you have taken too much nevirapine, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For more information on how to take nevirapine, see the FDA drug labels for nevirapine oral suspension and immediate-release tablets and nevirapine extended-release tablets.

What should I do if I forget a dose?What should I do if I forget a dose?

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of nevirapine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

If you stop taking nevirapine for more than 7 days, ask your health care provider how much to take before you start taking it again. You may need to begin nevirapine treatment again with a lead-in dose period.

What side effects can nevirapine cause?What side effects can nevirapine cause?

What side effects can nevirapine cause?

Nevirapine may cause side effects. Some side effects of nevirapine can be serious as noted above. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the HIVinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.

Other possible side effects of nevirapine include:

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of nevirapine. To learn more about possible side effects of nevirapine, read the drug labels or package inserts for nevirapine oral suspension and immediate-release tablets and nevirapine extended-release tablets or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

You can report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.

How should nevirapine be stored?How should nevirapine be stored?

How should nevirapine be stored?

  • Store nevirapine at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep nevirapine in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use nevirapine if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away nevirapine that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep nevirapine and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about nevirapine?Where can I find more information about nevirapine?

Where can I find more information about nevirapine?

Manufacturer Information

Boehringer Ingelheim
Main number: 800-243-0127
Patient assistance: 800-556-8317

Last Reviewed: March 4, 2022