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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Viracept

Generic Name: nelfinavir (Pronunciation: nel FIN a veer)

What is nelfinavir (Viracept)?

Nelfinavir is an antiviral medication in a group of HIV medicines called protease (PRO-tee-ayz) inhibitors. Nelfinavir prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Nelfinavir is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nelfinavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Nelfinavir may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Viracept 250 mg

oblong, blue, imprinted with VIRACEPT, 250 mg

What are the possible side effects of nelfinavir (Viracept)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking nelfinavir and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • increased urination or extreme thirst;
  • easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • signs of a new infection, such as fever or chills, cough, or flu symptoms.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, loss of appetite;
  • tired feeling;
  • headache, mood changes; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about nelfinavir (Viracept)?

A European version of nelfinavir was found to have high levels of an impurity known to cause cancer in animals. Nelfinavir in the U.S. was found to have lower levels of the impurity, which is created during the manufacturing process but can be minimized.

It is not known whether this impurity has caused harm to anyone taking nelfinavir, and it is important to keep treating your condition. Children and pregnant women should not take nelfinavir as a "first-line" treatment. If you already take nelfinavir your doctor may recommend that you keep taking it. Do not stop taking nelfinavir or change your dose without your doctor's advice.

Do not take nelfinavir with amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex), pimozide (Orap), midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion), or an ergot medicine such as Ergomar, Cafergot, Wigraine, D.H.E. 45, Migranal, or Methergine. These drugs can cause life-threatening side effects if you use them while you are taking nelfinavir.

There are many other medicines that can interact with nelfinavir. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors.

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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