is Nevirapine safe?
Jul 25, 2000
I have read that in Africa, they are saying that Nevirapine is not a safe drug for HIV. I have been taking it for over a year and I am wondering if there is any truth to this? I would appreciate any answers that you could give.
Response from Dr. Pavia
You are hearing some very fragmented rumors. There is one trial which involved the experimental drug FTC and nevirapine conducted largely in Africa. There were several patients with liver inflammation, a known problem with several HIV drugs but also with Hepatitis B and C, both more common in Africa than in the west. There were some deaths due to liver disease, but at this point, we don't know if it was due to other liver disease, reactions to the drugs they were on that were not managed properly because the patients were desperate to stay on treatment (if they left the trial they might have no other options) or whether there might have been some interaction between drugs.
There is no reason to think that nevirapine is not safe based on what we know. With all of our HIV drugs, it is important to keep an eye out for problems. Blood work and a check up every 2-3 months should be able to identify any problems before they become serious.
Andrew T. Pavia, M.D.
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