Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Birth control: Nevirapine may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use another form of birth control if taking this medication.
Fat redistribution: Over time, this medication may change how fat is distributed in your body and may change your body shape. You may notice increased fat in the upper back and neck, breast, around the back, chest, and stomach area; or loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face. The long-term effects of this are not known.
Immune reconstitution syndrome: This medication may cause immune reconstitution syndrome, where signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections appear. These symptoms occur soon after starting anti-HIV medication and can vary. They are thought to occur as a result of the immune system improving and being able to fight infections that have been present without symptoms (such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis). Report any new symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible.
Kidney function: If you have reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with severely reduced kidney function should not take this medication.
Liver damage: This medication may cause liver damage. The risk is highest during the first 6 weeks of treatment. Women are also more likely than men to experience liver damage when taking nevirapine. Anyone who had CD4+ counts of over 250 cells/mm³ when treatment was started are at a higher risk, but anyone taking this medication may be at risk of liver damage.
Your doctor will order regular blood tests to watch for early signs of liver damage. Stop using this medication and contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms of liver damage, including unusual tiredness or weakness, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, or jaundice (yellow eyes or skin).
Liver function: Nevirapine is broken down by the liver so it can be removed from the body through the kidneys. Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause a build-up of nevirapine in the body and cause side effects.
If you have liver disease or decreased liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
If you experience symptoms of liver problems (e.g., abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, feeling unwell, fever, itching, yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine), contact your doctor immediately.
Skin reactions: Nevirapine can cause a severe form of skin reaction that may be life threatening. This is most likely to occur in the first 6 weeks of taking this medication. If you experience a severe rash or a rash at the same time as fever, feeling generally unwell, blisters, muscle or joint aches, contact your doctor or get medical attention immediately.
Pregnancy: Adequate studies on the use of this medication by pregnant women are not available. Talk to your doctor for guidance.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if nevirapine passes into breast milk. Women who have HIV infection are cautioned against breast-feeding because of the risk of passing HIV to a baby who does not have the infection.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for those less than 15 years of age.