Font Size

Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Viracept

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

What is nelfinavir (Viracept)?

Nelfinavir is an antiviral medication that 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 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 using nelfinavir and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • signs of a new infection, such as fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • rapid heart rate, increased sweating, tremors in your hands, anxiety, feeling irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex;
  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid);
  • muscle weakness, tired feeling, trouble speaking or swallowing, joint or muscle pain, feeling short of breath;
  • weakness or prickly feeling in your fingers or toes;
  • problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement; or
  • severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, gas;
  • mild skin rash; 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)?

Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take nelfinavir with alfuzosin (Uroxatral), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), midazolam (Versed), quinidine (Quin-G), pimozide (Orap), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater), sildenafil (Revatio for pulmonary arterial hypertension), simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync), St. John's wort, triazolam (Halcion), or an ergot medicine such as Ergomar, Ergotrate, Cafergot, Wigraine, D.H.E. 45, Migranal, or Methergine.

There are many other medicines that can interact with nelfinavir. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

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.

Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Medical Dictionary