Viracept is an HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medications called protease inhibitors (PIs). Viracept prevents T-cells that have been infected with HIV from producing new HIV.
Viracept is approved for HIV-positive children two years of age and older (the dose depends on body weight and must be taken with food).
Clinical trials have determined that Viracept is safe and effective when combined with other drugs, most notably two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).
The following medications should not be taken while you are being treated with Viracept:
Acid reflux/heartburn medications: Propulsid (cisapride), Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole)
Antibiotics: Rifadin (rifampin)
Antimigraine medications: Ergostat, Cafergot, Ercaf, Wigraine (ergotamine) or D.H.E. 45 (dihydroergotamine)
Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins): Zocor (simvastatin ) and Mevacor (lovastatin)
Heart medications: Cordarone (amiodarone) and Quinaglute/Quinidex (quinidine)
Enlarged prostate: Uroxatral (Alfuzosin)
Pulmonary arterial hypertension: Revatio (sildenafil)
Antipsychotics: Orap (pimozide)
Sedatives: Versed (midazolam) and Halcion (triazolam)
Herbal products: St. John's wort
Anticonvulsants, such as Tegretol (carbamazepine), phenobarbital, and Dilantin (phenytoin), may decrease the amount of Viracept in the bloodstream. It might be necessary to increase your dose of Viracept if you are taking any of these drugs.
HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) can also interact with Viracept. Sustiva (efavirenz), Viramune (nevirapine), and Rescriptor (delavirdine) can all increase Viracept levels in the bloodstream, although it's probably not necessary to change the doses.
Viracept can interact with some medications used to treat TB, MAC and other bacterial infections. Rifadin (rifampin) can decrease Viracept levels in the bloodstream; these two drugs should not be used together. Viracept can increase Mycobutin (rifabutin) levels and Mycobutin can decrease Viracept levels (the Mycobutin dose should be reduced to 150mg every day and the Viracept dose should be increased to four 250mg tablets three times a day). It is not known if Viracept effects Biaxin (clarithromycin) levels in the bloodstream.
Viracept can increase the blood levels of the antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin). No dose adjustment is necessary, but using the two in combination could potentially increase the risk of Zithromax side effects.
Viracept decreases the amount of oral contraceptives (taken by women to help avoid pregnancy) in the bloodstream. This means that there may be a higher risk of becoming pregnant if Viracept and oral contraceptives are taken at the same time. To reduce the risk of pregnancy, barrier protection (e.g., condoms) should be used.
Diarrhea is the most common side effect of Viracept. To learn some tips and tricks that can help reduce the severity of diarrhea, click here.
Other short-term side effects include appetite loss, headaches, feeling crummy (malaise), nausea, and vomiting. Very often, these side effects improve within a few months/weeks of starting Viracept.