Clinical pharmacokinetics of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2001;40(12):893-905. doi: 10.2165/00003088-200140120-00002.


Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are a diverse group of compounds that induce allosteric changes in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase, thus rendering the enzyme incapable of converting viral RNA to DNA. Unlike nucleoside analogue inhibitors of reverse transcriptase, NNRTIs do not require sequential phosphorylation to elicit antiretroviral activity. There are currently 3 approved NNRTIs: nevirapine, delavirdine and efavirenz. Although possessing a common mechanism of action, these agents can be differentiated by both molecular and pharmacokinetic characteristics. Each of the NNRTIs is metabolised to some degree by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system of enzymes, making them prone to clinically significant drug interactions. In addition, they elicit variable effects on other medications, acting as either inducers or inhibitors of drugs metabolised by CYP. These drug interactions are an important consideration in the clinical use of these agents as a part of combination antiretroviral therapy. Additional factors such as the influence of food and pH on oral absorption, and protein binding, must also be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkynes
  • Benzoxazines
  • Biological Availability
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Delavirdine / pharmacokinetics
  • Delavirdine / therapeutic use
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / metabolism
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Male
  • Nevirapine / pharmacokinetics
  • Nevirapine / therapeutic use
  • Oxazines / pharmacokinetics
  • Oxazines / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors* / pharmacokinetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use


  • Alkynes
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Oxazines
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Nevirapine
  • Delavirdine
  • efavirenz