Nevirapine, as an alternative to efavirenz, is the non-nucleoside (NNRTI) often included in first-line regimens.

It is the preferable NNRTI for women who may become pregnant or anyone who can not deal with the largely psychotropic side-effects of efavirenz.

Nevirapine-based regimens have shown efficacy in both treatmant-naive patients as well as those with substantial treatment experience, making it an option for the construction of salvage treatment regimens.

Basic info

Generic name nevirapine
Brand name Viramune
Also known as
Drug class Non-Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Pediatric dosing? Available in doses suitable for children and/or young people.
Availability in Australia Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) through S100 prescribers since
This drug may be available through clinical trials in Australia.
You may be able to import this drug from overseas for your personal use.
Formulation 200mg tablet and 400mg tablets

Taking it

Like most anti-HIV drugs, nevirapine must be taken in combination with other drugs to be completely effective. Commonly, nevirapine is combined with one other nucleoside (NRTI) drug and either a protease inhibitor or non-nucleoside, although other combinations are sometimes used. Your doctor will advise you on the right combination of drugs to suit your circumstances.


The usual adult dose is one 200mg tablet taken twice a day. Some studies have suggested that nevirapine could be taken once a day (two 200mg tablets taken at the same time), however the effectiveness of this dosing has not been proven and it is recommended that the twice-daily dosing be used. Starting dose: people starting nevirapine for the first time are normally asked to taken one tablet per day for the first 14 days, increasing to two tablets per day after that.

Regardless of what you read on this website or elsewhere, you should always take your medications according to your doctor's instructions. If you're unsure, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

With or without food

nevirapine may be taken with or without food

Side effect

All drugs can produce side effects in some people. These may be mild, moderate or severe, so you should be aware of potential side effects before starting any drug, and speak to your doctor if you experience side effects that concern you.

  • Common side effects may include skin rash.
  • Less common side effects may include headaches, high blood pressure.
  • Rare side effects may include liver damage, Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
  • It's unlikely you will experience all of these side effects, and you may not experience any side effects at all. Before starting any new drug, ask your doctor about side effects you might experience and discuss strategies for dealing with side effects if they do occur. If you experience any significant side effect you should continue taking your medicine and see your doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions with other drugs

Make sure that your healthcare provider knows about ALL drugs and supplements you are taking. Drugs to watch out for include other ARVs, anti-fungal drugs, antimicrobial agents, cimetidine , drugs to treat tuberculosis, those for heart rhythm (antiarrhythmics), and for migraine headaches. Interactions are also possible with several antihistamines (allergy medications), sedatives, and drugs to lower cholesterol. Nevirapine lowers blood levels of some birth control medications, which could make them ineffective. Nevirapine lowers blood levels of methadone. Nevirapine can lower concentrations of buprenorphine. The herb St. John's wort lowers the blood levels of some non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Do not take it with nevirapine.