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Nelfinavir (Viracept) Drug for AIDS/HIV: Use, Side Effects, Interactions




Nelfinavir
(Viracept, United States and Canada)

More drugs used for AIDS/HIV.

Use:

Nelfinavir or Viracept is an anti-viral drug which is used in infections such as HIV and AIDS.

How It Works:

Nelfinavir or Viracept is a protease inhibitor which means it blocks an enzyme - protease - which the virus needs to reproduce.
HIV infections have the ability to develop a resistance to Nelfinavir or Viracept. For this reason Nelfinavir or Viracept is often given in combination with other AIDS drugs which reduces the development of resistance. If resistance does develop, other protease inhibitors - indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir - can be used.

Side Effects:

Nelfinavir or Viracept is generally well tolerated. Diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain can occur. Nelfinavir or Viracept, as do the HIV protease inhibitors in general, can elevated blood glucose levels.

Cautions for People:

People with liver function problems should be careful when taking Nelfinavir or Viracept.

Drug Interactions:

Rifampin and rifabutin induce liver enzymes, specifically P450 enzymes, which increase the metabolism of Nelfinavir or Viracept and reduce concentrations in the body.
With the non sedation antihistamines, terfenadine and astemizole, Nelfinavir or Viracept can produce potentially fatal heart beat irregularities. Nelfinavir or Viracept inhibits enzymes which metabolize these antihistamines in the liver, meaning that the levels of the antihistamines increase in the body.

Further Reading:

JAMA 1997;277:145
Medical Letter 1997;39:66

Added to Virtual Drugstore December 1997.

The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.













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