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Viracept Prescription
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Generic Name: nelfinavir (nel FIN a veer)
Brand Names: Viracept
Viracept is an antiviral medicine used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Learn about side effects, interactions and indications.
Generic Name: nelfinavir (nel FIN a veer)
Brand Names: Viracept
Viracept is an antiviral medicine used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Learn about side effects, interactions and indications.
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30 tablets of Viracept 40 mg
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Viracept Drug Information:

Viracept (nelfinavir) is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body. Viracept is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Viracept is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. You should not use Viracept if you have moderate to severe liver disease. Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take Viracept 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. Learn more

Viracept Side Effects

Note: This document contains side effect information about nelfinavir. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Viracept.

For the Consumer

Applies to nelfinavir: oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, nelfinavir (the active ingredient contained in Viracept) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking nelfinavir:

Less common

  • Confusion
  • dehydration
  • dry or itchy skin
  • fruity mouth odor
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • nausea
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • fever
  • headache
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle tremors
  • noisy breathing
  • rapid, deep breathing
  • recurrent fainting
  • restlessness
  • skin rash
  • stomach cramps
  • tightness in the chest
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects of nelfinavir may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Diarrhea

Less common

  • Intestinal gas
  • redistribution or accumulation of body fat

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nelfinavir: oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet


Most side effects were of mild severity. The most common side effect was diarrhea, which was usually of mild to moderate severity.


Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (up to 20%)

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, flatulence

Frequency not reported: Abdominal pain, dyspepsia, epigastric pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, increased amylase, mouth ulceration, pancreatitis, vomiting


Common (1% to 10%): Decreased lymphocytes, decreased neutrophils, decreased hemoglobin

Frequency not reported: Anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia

HIV protease inhibitor therapy:

-Frequency not reported: Increased bleeding (including spontaneous skin hematomas, hemarthrosis) in hemophiliacs

Increased bleeding (including spontaneous skin hematomas and hemarthrosis) in patients with hemophilia type A and B has been associated with protease inhibitors. In many of the reported cases, treatment with protease inhibitors was continued or restarted and some patients required additional factor VIII. A causal relationship between protease inhibitor therapy and these episodes has not been established.


Common (1% to 10%): Elevated AST, elevated ALT

Frequency not reported: Elevated GGT, abnormal liver function tests, hepatitis

Postmarketing reports: Jaundice, bilirubinemia


Common (1% to 10%): Elevated creatine kinase

Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, arthritis, back pain, cramps, increased creatine phosphokinase, myalgia, myasthenia, myopathy


Common (1% to 10%): Rash

Frequency not reported: Dermatitis, folliculitis, fungal dermatitis, maculopapular rash, pruritus, sweating, urticaria

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Dizziness, headache, hyperkinesia, migraine, paresthesia, seizures, somnolence


Frequency not reported: Accidental injury, asthenia, fever, malaise, pain


Frequency not reported: Dyspnea, pharyngitis, rhinitis, sinusitis


Postmarketing reports: QTc prolongation, torsades de pointes


Frequency not reported: Anorexia, increased alkaline phosphatase, increased LDH, hyperlipidemia, hyperuricemia, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, dehydration, redistribution/accumulation of body fat

Postmarketing reports: Metabolic acidosis

Combination antiretroviral therapy:

-Frequency not reported: Redistribution/accumulation of body fat (including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement, peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, "cushingoid appearance")

HIV protease inhibitor therapy:

-Postmarketing reports: New onset diabetes mellitus, exacerbation of preexisting diabetes mellitus, hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis


Frequency not reported: Anxiety, depression, emotional lability, insomnia, sleep disorder, suicidal ideation


Frequency not reported: Allergic reaction

Postmarketing reports: Hypersensitivity reactions (including bronchospasm, moderate to severe rash, fever, edema)


Frequency not reported: Kidney calculus


Frequency not reported: Sexual dysfunction, urine abnormality


Frequency not reported: Immune reconstitution/reactivation syndrome, autoimmune disorders in the setting of immune reconstitution (e.g., Graves' disease, polymyositis, Guillain-Barre syndrome)


Frequency not reported: Acute iritis, eye disorder

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by USARx EDITORIAL TEAM Last updated on 1/27/2021.

Source: Drugs.com Viracept (www.drugs.com/viracept.html).