Nelfinavir (By mouth)

Introduction

Nelfinavir (nel-FIN-a-vir)

Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nelfinavir does not cure HIV or AIDS, but may help slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Viracept

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you or your child have had an allergic reaction to nelfinavir. You should not use this medicine if you or your child are using certain heart rhythm medicines (such as amiodarone, quinidine, Cardioquin®, Cordarone®, Quinaglute®, or Quinidex®), alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), pimozide (Orap®), midazolam (Versed®), sildenafil (Revatio®), triazolam (Halcion®), or ergot medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, DHE 45®, Ergomar®, Ergotrate®, or Methergine®). Using nelfinavir with any of these medicines can cause very serious medical problems, or even death. Do not use this medicine if you or your child have severe liver disease.

How to Use This Medicine

Powder, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • If you cannot swallow the tablet whole, you may dissolve it in a small amount of water. Be sure to drink or swallow the entire mixture right away. Then refill your glass with water and drink it so none of the medicine is left on the sides of the glass.
  • Measure the oral powder carefully using the measuring scoop provided with the medicine. Mix the powder with a small amount of water, milk, soy milk, baby formula, or a dietary supplement drink. Do not use apple juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, or apple sauce. After mixing your medicine with a liquid, take the mixture right away. Be sure to drink or swallow all of the mixture. If not used right away, you may store this mixture in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
  • Nelfinavir is used with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Be sure to take all of the medicines your doctor ordered, and to take them at the right times.
  • If you are also using didanosine (Videx®), take it one hour before or at least two hours after taking nelfinavir.
  • This medicine works best if there is a constant amount in the blood. To keep blood levels constant, take this medicine at the same time each day and do not miss any doses. Also, when your supply of this medicine is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using other medicines to treat HIV or AIDS (such as delavirdine, didanosine, indinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir, Crixivan®, Fortovase®, Invirase®, Norvir®, Rescriptor®, Videx®, or Viramune®), medicine to treat an infection (such as azithromycin, rifampin, rifabutin, Mycobutin®, Rifadin®, Rimactane®, or Zithromax®), stomach medicine (such as esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, or Protonix®), medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, Altocor®, Crestor®, Lescol®, Lipitor®, Mevacor®, Pravachol®, or Zocor®), bosentan (Tracleer®), colchicine (Colcrys®), birth control pills that contain estrogen (such as Loestrin®, Ortho-Novum®, or Ovcon®), or St. John's wort.
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using medicine to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, Dilantin®, or Tegretol®), medicine to treat problems with erection (such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, Adcirca®, Cialis®, Levitra®, or Viagra®), medicine that weakens your immune system (such as cyclosporine, sirolimus, tacrolimus, Gengraf®, Neoral®, Protopic®, Rapamune®, or Sandimmune®), pain medicine (such as methadone or Dolophine®), steroid medicine (such as fluticasone or Flonase®), or medicine to treat depression (such as trazodone or Desyrel®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you or your child have liver disease, diabetes, or a bleeding disorder called hemophilia.
  • You should not breast feed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • Birth control pills that contain estrogen may not work as well while you are using this medicine. To keep from getting pregnant, use another form of birth control together with your pills. Other forms include condoms, diaphragms, or contraceptive foams or jellies.
  • When you start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you or your child have certain infections, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, be sure to tell your doctor.
  • The oral powder contains phenylalanine. Tell your doctor if you or your child have a condition called phenylketonuria (PKU).
  • This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you or your child notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from the legs, arms, and face.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools.
  • Changes in behavior, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, or muscle cramps.
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Seizures.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or gas.
  • Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mild skin rash or itching.
  • Mood changes or tiredness.
  • Muscle pain or weakness, joint pain.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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