Generic Name: nelfinavir

Pronunciation: VI-ruh-sept

Abbreviation: NFV

Other Market Name: N/A

Drug Class: Protease Inhibitors (PIs)

Company: ViiV Healthcare

Approval Status: Approved

Generic Version Available: No

Experimental Code: N/A

Drug Indication

Not part of a recommended or alternative treatment regimen for antiretroviral-naive people living with HIV, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. Visit for the full DHHS guidelines.

General Info

Viracept is an HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called protease inhibitors.

Viracept was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by people living with HIV in 1997.

Viracept must be combined with other HIV drugs.


Adult Dose: Two 625 mg capsules twice a day OR five 250 mg capsules twice a day OR three 250 mg tablets three times a day. A powder formulation is also available.

Pediatric Dose: Ages 13 to 18 years: same as adult dose. Ages 2 to 13 years: based on body weight and should not exceed the adult daily dose.

Dosing Info: Take with food.

Side Effects

Diarrhea is the most common side effect of Viracept.

Other possible include appetite loss, headaches, feeling crummy (malaise), nausea, and vomiting. Very often, these side effects improve within a few months/weeks of starting Viracept.

Some people may experience increases in their lipid levels (triglycerides and cholesterol) or diabetes risk while being treated with protease inhibitors.

Drug-induced hepatitis (liver injury) has been reported in people taking protease inhibitors, including Viracept. This usually occurred in people who had extremely low CD4 cells, were taking multiple other medications and who were also infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Lab tests to monitor liver function is an important component of routine follow-up care and important for people using protease inhibitors.

Drug Interactions

Viracept can increase or decrease the levels of many other drugs in the body, potentially increasing the risk of serious side effects or decreasing medication effectiveness. Dosage adjustments or substitutions may be necessary if you are prescribed certain medications. Consult the Viracept package insert for more details:

Other Info

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or liver disease (including hepatitis B). In addition, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, if you are breastfeeding, and all your medical conditions.

It is also very important that your health care provider and pharmacist know all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking at all times while using an HIV treatment regimen that contains Viracept.

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Last Reviewed: July 15, 2016