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All about: Nelfinavir

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Generic Name: Nelfinavir Tablets (nel-FIN-a-veer)
Brand Name: Viracept

Nelfinavir is used for:

Treating HIV infection.

Nelfinavir is an HIV protease inhibitor. It works by slowing the growth of HIV type 1, the virus that causes AIDS.

Do NOT use Nelfinavir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Nelfinavir
  • you are also taking amiodarone, astemizole, cisapride, an ergot derivative (eg, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine), midazolam, pimozide, quinidine, rifampin, a quinazoline (eg, alfuzosin), terfenadine, or triazolam
  • you have taken eletriptan within the past 72 hours

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Nelfinavir :

Some medical conditions may interact with Nelfinavir . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have hemophilia, high blood sugar, or liver problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Nelfinavir . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Carbamazepine, efavirenz, garlic, nevirapine, or St. John's wort because the effectiveness of Nelfinavir may be decreased
  • Cyclosporine or delavirdine because the actions and side effects of Nelfinavir may be increased
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), aldosterone blockers (eg, spironolactone), amiodarone, astemizole, benzodiazepines (eg, alprazolam), buspirone, cisapride, eletriptan, ergot alkaloids (eg, ergotamine), erythromycin, fluticasone, H1 antagonists (eg, diphenhydramine), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors ("statins", eg, simvastatin), isotretinoin, macrolide immunosuppressants (eg, tacrolimus), midazolam, muscarinic receptor antagonists (eg, scopolamine), narcotic analgesics (eg, morphine, codeine), pimozide, quinazolines (eg, alfuzosin), quinidine, rifampin, risperidone, sildenafil, sumatriptan, terfenadine , trazodone, or triazolam because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased
  • Methadone or oral contraceptives (birth control pills) because the effectiveness of these medicines may be decreased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Nelfinavir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Nelfinavir :

Use Nelfinavir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Nelfinavir with a meal or light snack.
  • Nelfinavir comes with an additional patient leaflet. Read it carefully and reread it each time you get Nelfinavir refilled.
  • Tablets may be swallowed whole, crushed and mixed with food, or dissolved in water. Once mixed with food or dissolved in water, swallow the entire contents to get the full dose. Rinse the glass with water and swallow the rinse to ensure that the entire dose is taken.
  • If you are taking didanosine, take Nelfinavir with food at least 1 hour before or more than 2 hours after taking didanosine.
  • If you miss a dose of Nelfinavir , use it as soon as you remember. If it is within 2 hours of your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. It is important not to miss doses of Nelfinavir . Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Nelfinavir .

Important safety information:

  • Do not exceed the recommended dose of Nelfinavir without checking with your doctor. Exceeding the recommended dose of Nelfinavir may not provide additional benefits, and may increase the risk of side effects.
  • Nelfinavir is not a cure for HIV infection and patients may continue to acquire illnesses/infections associated with HIV infection. Remain under the care of your health care provider.
  • When your medicine supply begins to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. This virus may develop resistance to Nelfinavir if you stop taking it, even for a short period of time, or the virus may become more difficult to treat.
  • Nelfinavir offers no protection from the transmission of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination. Use barrier forms of contraception (eg, condoms) if you are infected with HIV.
  • Certain birth control pills may not be as effective while taking Nelfinavir . Women taking birth control pills should use other birth control measures (eg, condoms, diaphragms).
  • Diabetes patients - This medicine may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely and ask your doctor before adjusting the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • LAB TESTS, including CD4 counts, will be required to monitor your progress. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Nelfinavir with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 2 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Nelfinavir during pregnancy. HIV-infected mothers should not breast-feed their infants because of the risk of transmitting the HIV infection or Nelfinavir .

Possible side effects of Nelfinavir :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Breast enlargement; cushingoid appearance (excessive accumulation of fat in the face and around the neck; dusky complexion with purple markings); diarrhea; gas; nausea; shift in body fat to stomach and upper body; skin and facial wasting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); flushing; gradual onset of drowsiness; increased blood sugar (excessive urination, hunger, or thirst); loss of appetite.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Nelfinavir :

Store Nelfinavir at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in its original container. Store away from heat, light, and moisture. Keep Nelfinavir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Nelfinavir , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Nelfinavir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Nelfinavir . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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