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The most serious adverse reactions associated with nevirapine are hepatitis/hepatic failure, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and hypersensitivity reactions. Hepatitis/hepatic failure may be associated with signs of hypersensitivity which can include severe rash or rash accompanied by fever, general malaise, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, blisters, oral lesions, conjunctivitis, facial edema, eosinophilia, granulocytopenia, lymphadenopathy, or renal dysfunction.
The first 18 weeks of therapy with nevirapine are a critical period during which intensive clinical and laboratory monitoring of patients is required to detect potentially life-threatening hepatic events and skin reactions. The optimal frequency of monitoring during this time period has not been established. Some experts recommend clinical and laboratory monitoring more often than once per month, and in particular, include monitoring of liver enzyme tests prior to beginning the 14-day lead-in period with immediate-release VIRAMUNE, prior to initiation of VIRAMUNE XR (during the lead-in period), and at two weeks after initiation of VIRAMUNE XR therapy. After the initial 18-week period, frequent clinical and laboratory monitoring should continue throughout VIRAMUNE XR treatment. In addition, the 14day lead-in period with VIRAMUNE 200 mg daily dosing has been demonstrated to reduce the frequency of rash [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
For patients already on a regimen of immediate-release VIRAMUNE twice daily who switch to VIRAMUNE XR therapy, continue with their ongoing clinical and laboratory monitoring.
Hepatotoxicity and Hepatic Impairment
Severe, life-threatening, and in some cases fatal hepatotoxicity, including fulminant and cholestatic hepatitis, hepatic necrosis and hepatic failure, have been reported in patients treated with nevirapine.
The risk of symptomatic hepatic events regardless of severity is greatest in the first 6 weeks of therapy. The risk continued to be greater in the nevirapine groups in controlled clinical trials through 18 weeks of treatment. However, hepatic events may occur at any time during treatment. In some cases, patients presented with nonspecific, prodromal signs or symptoms of fatigue, malaise, anorexia, nausea, jaundice, liver tenderness or hepatomegaly, with or without initially abnormal serum transaminase levels. Rash was observed in approximately half of the patients with symptomatic hepatic adverse events. Fever and flu-like symptoms accompanied some of these hepatic events. Some events, particularly those with rash and other symptoms, have progressed to hepatic failure with transaminase elevation, with or without hyperbilirubinemia, hepatic encephalopathy, prolonged partial thromboplastin time, or eosinophilia. Rhabdomyolysis has been observed in some patients experiencing skin and/or liver reactions associated with nevirapine use. Patients with signs or symptoms of hepatitis must be advised to discontinue nevirapine and immediately seek medical evaluation, which should include liver enzyme tests.
Transaminases should be checked immediately if a patient experiences signs or symptoms suggestive of hepatitis and/or hypersensitivity reaction. Transaminases should also be checked immediately for all patients who develop a rash in the first 18 weeks of treatment. Physicians and patients should be vigilant for the appearance of signs or symptoms of hepatitis, such as fatigue, malaise, anorexia, nausea, jaundice, bilirubinuria, acholic stools, liver tenderness, or hepatomegaly. The diagnosis of hepatotoxicity should be considered in this setting, even if transaminases are initially normal or alternative diagnoses are possible [see BOXED WARNING, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, and PATIENT INFORMATION].
If clinical hepatitis or transaminase elevations combined with rash or other systemic symptoms occur, permanently discontinue nevirapine. Do not restart nevirapine after recovery. In some cases, hepatic injury progresses despite discontinuation of treatment.
The patients at greatest risk of hepatic events, including potentially fatal events, are women with high CD4+ cell counts. In a retrospective analysis of pooled clinical trials with immediate-release VIRAMUNE, during the first 6 weeks of treatment women had a 3-fold higher risk than men for symptomatic, often rash-associated, hepatic events (6% versus 2%). Patients with higher CD4+ cell counts at initiation of nevirapine therapy are at higher risk for symptomatic hepatic events. Women with CD4+ cell counts greater than 250 cells/mm³ had a 12-fold higher risk of symptomatic hepatic adverse events compared to women with CD4+ cell counts less than 250 cells/mm³ (11% versus 1%). An increased risk was observed in men with CD4+ cell counts greater than 400 cells/mm3 (6% versus 1% for men with CD4+ cell counts less than 400 cells/mm³). However, all patients, regardless of gender, CD4+ cell count, or antiretroviral treatment history, should be monitored for hepatotoxicity since symptomatic hepatic adverse events have been reported at all CD4+ cell counts. Co-infection with hepatitis B or C and/or increased transaminase elevations at the start of therapy with nevirapine are associated with a greater risk of later symptomatic events (6 weeks or more after starting nevirapine) and asymptomatic increases in AST or ALT.
In addition, serious hepatotoxicity (including liver failure requiring transplantation in one instance) has been reported in HIV-1 uninfected individuals receiving multiple doses of immediate-release VIRAMUNE in the setting of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), an unapproved use. Use of VIRAMUNE XR for occupational and non-occupational PEP is contraindicated [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Increased nevirapine trough concentrations have been observed in some patients with hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis. Therefore, carefully monitor patients with either hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis for evidence of drug-induced toxicity. Do not administer nevirapine to patients with moderate or severe (Child-Pugh Class B or C, respectively) hepatic impairment [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, Use In Specific Populations, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. VIRAMUNE XR has not been evaluated in subjects with hepatic impairment.
Severe and life-threatening skin reactions, including fatal cases, have been reported in patients taking nevirapine. These have occurred most frequently during the first 6 weeks of therapy. These have included cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and hypersensitivity reactions characterized by rash, constitutional findings, and organ dysfunction including hepatic failure. Rhabdomyolysis has been observed in some patients experiencing skin and/or liver reactions associated with nevirapine use.
Patients developing signs or symptoms of severe skin reactions or hypersensitivity reactions (including, but not limited to, severe rash or rash accompanied by fever, general malaise, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, blisters, oral lesions, conjunctivitis, facial edema, and/or hepatitis, eosinophilia, granulocytopenia, lymphadenopathy, and renal dysfunction) must permanently discontinue nevirapine and seek medical evaluation immediately [see BOXED WARNING and PATIENT INFORMATION]. Do not restart nevirapine following severe skin rash, skin rash combined with increased transaminases or other symptoms, or hypersensitivity reaction.
If patients present with a suspected nevirapine-associated rash, measure transaminases immediately. Permanently discontinue nevirapine in patients with rash-associated transaminase elevations.
Patients must initiate therapy with one 200 mg tablet of immediate-release VIRAMUNE daily for the first 14 days. This lead-in period has been shown to reduce the frequency of rash. Discontinue nevirapine if a patient experiences severe rash or any rash accompanied by constitutional findings. Do not initiate VIRAMUNE XR if a patient experiencing a mild to moderate rash without constitutional symptoms during the 14-day immediate-release VIRAMUNE lead-in period of 200 mg/day until the rash has resolved. The total duration of the immediate-release VIRAMUNE lead-in dosing period must not exceed 28 days at which point an alternative regimen should be sought [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Patients must be monitored closely if isolated rash of any severity occurs. Delay in stopping nevirapine treatment after the onset of rash may result in a more serious reaction.
Women appear to be at higher risk than men of developing rash with nevirapine.
In a clinical trial of immediate-release VIRAMUNE, concomitant prednisone use (40 mg per day for the first 14 days of nevirapine administration) was associated with an increase in incidence and severity of rash during the first 6 weeks of nevirapine therapy. Therefore, use of prednisone to prevent nevirapine-associated rash is not recommended.
VIRAMUNE XR must not be used as a single agent to treat HIV-1 or added on as a sole agent to a failing regimen. Resistant virus emerges rapidly when nevirapine is administered as monotherapy. The choice of new antiretroviral agents to be used in combination with nevirapine should take into consideration the potential for cross resistance. When discontinuing an antiretroviral regimen containing VIRAMUNE XR, the long half-life of nevirapine should be taken into account; if antiretrovirals with shorter half-lives than nevirapine are stopped concurrently, low plasma concentrations of nevirapine alone may persist for a week or longer and virus resistance may subsequently develop [see Microbiology].
See Table 3 for listings of established and potential drug interactions [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Concomitant use of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) or St. John's wort-containing products and nevirapine is not recommended. Co-administration of St. John's wort with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), including nevirapine, is expected to substantially decrease NNRTI concentrations and may result in sub-optimal levels of nevirapine and lead to loss of virologic response and possible resistance to nevirapine or to the class of NNRTIs.
Co-administration of nevirapine and efavirenz is not recommended as this combination has been associated with an increase in adverse reactions and no improvement in efficacy.
Immune Reconstitution Syndrome
Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including nevirapine. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections (such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), or tuberculosis), which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.
Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.
Patient Counseling Information
“See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).”
Hepatotoxicity and Skin Reactions
Inform patients of the possibility of severe liver disease or skin reactions associated with nevirapine that may result in death. Instruct patients developing signs or symptoms of liver disease or severe skin reactions to discontinue nevirapine and seek medical attention immediately, including performance of laboratory monitoring. Symptoms of liver disease include fatigue, malaise, anorexia, nausea, jaundice, acholic stools, liver tenderness or hepatomegaly. Symptoms of severe skin or hypersensitivity reactions include rash accompanied by fever, general malaise, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, blisters, oral lesions, conjunctivitis, facial edema, and/or hepatitis.
Intensive clinical and laboratory monitoring, including liver enzymes, is essential during the first 18 weeks of therapy with nevirapine to detect potentially life-threatening hepatotoxicity and skin reactions. However, liver disease can occur after this period; therefore, monitoring should continue at frequent intervals throughout nevirapine treatment. Extra vigilance is warranted during the first 6 weeks of therapy, which is the period of greatest risk of hepatic events and skin reactions. Advise patients with signs and symptoms of hepatitis to discontinue nevirapine and seek medical evaluation immediately. If nevirapine is discontinued due to hepatotoxicity, do not restart it. Patients, particularly women, with increased CD4+ cell count at initiation of nevirapine therapy (greater than 250 cells/mm³ in women and greater than 400 cells/mm³ in men) are at substantially higher risk for development of symptomatic hepatic events, often associated with rash. Advise patients that co-infection with hepatitis B or C and/or increased transaminases at the start of therapy with nevirapine are associated with a greater risk of later symptomatic events (6 weeks or more after starting nevirapine) and asymptomatic increases in AST or ALT [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
The majority of rashes associated with nevirapine occur within the first 6 weeks of initiation of therapy. Instruct patients that if any rash occurs during the two-week lead-in period with immediate-release VIRAMUNE, do not initiate VIRAMUNE XR until the rash resolves. The total duration of the lead-in dosing period with immediate-release VIRAMUNE should not exceed 28 days, at which point an alternative regimen may need to be started. Any patient experiencing a rash should have their liver enzymes (AST, ALT) evaluated immediately. Patients with severe rash or hypersensitivity reactions should discontinue nevirapine immediately and consult a physician. Nevirapine should not be restarted following severe skin rash or hypersensitivity reaction. Women tend to be at higher risk for development of nevirapineassociated rash. For patients who interrupt VIRAMUNE XR dosing for more than 7 days and for whom restarting nevirapine therapy is not contraindicated, restart the recommended lead-in dosing with immediate-release VIRAMUNE using one 200 mg tablet daily for the first 14 days [see Dose Adjustment]. [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Inform patients to take VIRAMUNE XR every day as prescribed. Patients should not alter the dose without consulting their doctor. If a dose is missed, patients should take the next dose as soon as possible. However, if a dose is skipped, the patient should not double the next dose. Advise patients to report to their doctor the use of any other medications.
Instruct patients to swallow VIRAMUNE XR tablets whole. They must not be chewed, crushed, or divided.
Inform patients that it is not known whether VIRAMUNE XR therapy reduces the risk of transmission of HIV-1 to others through sexual contact. Effective treatment combined with safer sex practices may reduce the chance of passing HIV to others through sexual contact. Patients should be advised to continue to practice safer sex and to use latex or polyurethane condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with any body fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions or blood. Patients should be advised never to re-use or share needles.
Inform patients that they may occasionally see soft remnants of VIRAMUNE XR in their stool, which sometimes resemble intact tablets. These occurrences have not been shown to affect drug levels or response.
VIRAMUNE XR is not a cure for HIV-1 infection; patients may continue to experience illnesses associated with advanced HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. Advise patients to remain under the care of a physician when using VIRAMUNE XR.
VIRAMUNE XR may interact with some drugs; therefore, patients should be advised to report to their doctor the use of any other prescription, non-prescription medication or herbal products, particularly St. John's wort [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Hormonal methods of birth control, other than depomedroxy-progesterone acetate (DMPA), should not be used as the sole method of contraception in women taking VIRAMUNE XR, since VIRAMUNE XR may lower the plasma levels of these medications. Additionally, when oral contraceptives are used for hormonal regulation during VIRAMUNE XR therapy, the therapeutic effect of the hormonal therapy should be monitored [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
VIRAMUNE XR may decrease plasma concentrations of methadone by increasing its hepatic metabolism. Narcotic withdrawal syndrome has been reported in patients treated with nevirapine and methadone concomitantly. Monitor methadone-maintained patients beginning nevirapine therapy for evidence of withdrawal and adjust methadone dose accordingly [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Inform patients that redistribution or accumulation of body fat may occur in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy and that the cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Long-term carcinogenicity studies in mice and rats were carried out with nevirapine. Mice were dosed with 0, 50, 375 or 750 mg/kg/day for two years. Hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas were increased at all doses in males and at the two high doses in females. In studies in which rats were administered nevirapine at doses of 0, 3.5, 17.5 or 35 mg/kg/day for two years, an increase in hepatocellular adenomas was seen in males at all doses and in females at the high dose. The systemic exposure (based on AUCs) at all doses in the two animal studies was lower than that measured in humans at the 200 mg twice daily dose of immediate-release VIRAMUNE. The mechanism of the carcinogenic potential is unknown. However, in genetic toxicology assays, nevirapine showed no evidence of mutagenic or clastogenic activity in a battery of in vitro and in vivo studies. These included microbial assays for gene mutation (Ames: Salmonella strains and E. coli), mammalian cell gene mutation assay (CHO/HGPRT), cytogenetic assays using a Chinese hamster ovary cell line and a mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay following oral administration. Given the lack of genotoxic activity of nevirapine, the relevance to humans of hepatocellular neoplasms in nevirapine-treated mice and rats is not known. In reproductive toxicology studies, evidence of impaired fertility was seen in female rats at doses providing systemic exposure, based on AUC, approximately equivalent to that provided with the recommended clinical dose.
Use In Specific Populations
Teratogenic Effects - Pregnancy Category B
No observable teratogenicity was detected in reproductive studies performed in pregnant rats and rabbits. The maternal and developmental no-observable-effect level dosages produced systemic exposures approximately equivalent to or approximately 50% higher in rats and rabbits, respectively, than those seen at the recommended daily human dose (based on AUC). In rats, decreased fetal body weights were observed due to administration of a maternally toxic dose (exposures approximately 50% higher than that seen at the recommended human clinical dose).
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of nevirapine in pregnant women. The Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry, which has been surveying pregnancy outcomes since January 1989, has not found an increased risk of birth defects following first trimester exposures to nevirapine. The prevalence of birth defects after any trimester exposure to nevirapine is comparable to the prevalence observed in the general population. Severe hepatic events, including fatalities, have been reported in pregnant women receiving chronic nevirapine therapy as part of combination treatment of HIV-1 infection. Regardless of pregnancy status, women with CD4+ cell counts greater than 250 cells/mm³ should not initiate nevirapine unless the benefit outweighs the risk. It is unclear if pregnancy augments the risk observed in non-pregnant women [see BOXED WARNING].
VIRAMUNE XR should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry
To monitor maternal-fetal outcomes of pregnant women exposed to immediate-release VIRAMUNE and VIRAMUNE XR, an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has been established. Physicians are encouraged to register patients by calling (800) 258-4263.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1 infected mothers not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1. Nevirapine is excreted in breast milk. Because of both the potential for HIV-1 transmission and the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, mothers should be instructed not to breastfeed if they are receiving VIRAMUNE XR.
The safety and efficacy of VIRAMUNE XR in pediatric patients have not been established. Please consult the complete prescribing information for immediate-release VIRAMUNE tablets and VIRAMUNE Oral Suspension for dosage and administration of nevirapine to pediatric patients.
Clinical studies of VIRAMUNE XR did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and older to determine whether elderly subjects respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
In subjects with renal impairment (mild, moderate or severe), there were no significant changes in the pharmacokinetics of nevirapine. Nevirapine is extensively metabolized by the liver and nevirapine metabolites are extensively eliminated by the kidney. Nevirapine metabolites may accumulate in patients receiving dialysis; however, the clinical significance of this accumulation is not known. No adjustment in nevirapine dosing is required in patients with CrCL greater than or equal to 20 mL per min. In patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis, an additional dose of immediate-release VIRAMUNE (200 mg) following each dialysis treatment is indicated [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. VIRAMUNE XR has not been studied in patients with renal dysfunction.
Because increased nevirapine levels and nevirapine accumulation may be observed in patients with serious liver disease, do not administer nevirapine to patients with moderate or severe (Child-Pugh Class B or C, respectively) hepatic impairment [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. VIRAMUNE XR has not been evaluated in subjects with hepatic impairment.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/30/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Viramune XR Information
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