Viramune is an HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Viramune prevents HIV from entering the nucleus of healthy CD4 cells. This prevents the cells from producing new virus and decreases the amount of virus in the body.
Viramune, manufactured by Boehringer-Ingelheim, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HIV in 1996.
Viramune is available in standard immediate-release tablets, which is taken twice-daily, and in an extended-release formation called Viramune XR, which is taken once-daily.
Viramune must be used in combination with other drugs to treat HIV. It is usually combined with two nucleoside analogues.
Tell your doctors and pharmacists about all medicines you take. This includes those you buy over-the-counter and herbal or natural remedies, such as St. John’s Wort. Bring all your medicines when you see a doctor, or make a list of their names, how much you take, and how often you take them. Your doctor can then tell you if you need to change the dosages of any of your medications.
The following medications should not be taken while you are being treated with Viramune
All of the available nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors can be combined safely with Viramune.
Viramune can interact with some medications used to treat thrush (candidiasis) and other fungal infections. Viramune can decrease Nizoral (ketoconazole) levels in the bloodstream. Similarly, Nizoral can increase Viramune levels in the bloodstream. Taking these two drugs together is not recommended. Diflucan (flucanazole) can significantly increase Viramune blood levels, so caution is warranted and people should watch carefully for the development of Viramune side effects.
Liver problems have been reported in HIV-positive people treated with Viramune. The greatest risk of liver problems is during the first six weeks of treatment. Liver problems are more likely to occur in women (including pregnant women) with CD4 cell counts greater than 250 at the time of starting HIV treatment for the first time. As for men, liver problems are more likely to occur if the CD4 cell count is above 400 at the time of starting HIV treatment for the first time. HIV-positive people should work with their doctors very carefully if they have CD4 cell counts above these levels and are planning on starting therapy for the first time with a drug regimen that contains Viramune.
The most common side effect of Viramune is skin rash. In a small number of patients, rash has been serious and resulted in death. Therefore, if you develop a rash with any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: general ill feeling, fever, muscle or joint aches, blisters, mouth sores, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the inner surface of the eyelids), swelling of the face, tiredness.