AIDS Home > Viramune Warnings and Precautions
Make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have liver disease or any allergies before taking Viramune. Warnings and precautions also include the safety of taking Viramune if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and the risk of serious skin rashes or severe liver damage in some people taking the drug. Avoid taking Viramune if you are allergic to any components of the medication.
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Viramune include the following:
- Viramune sometimes causes life-threatening skin rashes (which can result in severe infections or loss of large amounts of skin). Let your healthcare know right away if you develop a skin rash, especially if you also have any of the following symptoms:
- A general ill feeling (malaise)
- Muscle aches or joint pain
- Skin blisters
- Mouth sores
- Eye redness
- Swelling of the face
- Liver problems.
- Viramune can cause severe liver damage. This is most likely if you have high CD4 counts (high levels of certain immune cells). You should not start taking Viramune if your CD4 count is higher than 250 cells/mm3 (for women) or 400 cells/mm3 (for men). Let your healthcare provider know right away if you have any signs of liver damage, such as:
- Fatigue or a general ill feeling (malaise)
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow eyes or skin (jaundice)
- Tenderness near the liver (the upper right abdomen)
- Pale stools.
- Your healthcare provider should monitor you very closely for the first 18 weeks you take Viramune, as the risk of liver damage is highest during this time.
- Viramune can change the distribution of fat on your body. You may gain fat in areas that are not typical for you, such as in the abdomen or at the back of the neck (a "buffalo hump"), and may lose weight in other areas.
- Viramune is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. If you have HIV or AIDS, you should always use safer sex practices, regardless of whether you are taking medications.
- As will all HIV medications, it is important that you take Viramune exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.
- Viramune can interact with a number of different medications (see Viramune Drug Interactions for more information).
- Viramune is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Viramune and Pregnancy).
- Viramune passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Viramune and Breastfeeding). It is important to understand that the HIV virus can be transmitted through breast milk and that breastfeeding is usually not recommended in women with HIV or AIDS.