Novel pyrido[2,3-b][1,4]benzodiazepinones (I), pyrido[2,3-b][1,5]benzodiazepinones (II), and dipyrido[3,2-b:2',3'-e][1,4]diazepinones (III) were found to inhibit human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase in vitro at concentrations as low as 35 nM. In all three series, small substituents (e.g., methyl, ethyl, acetyl) are preferred at the lactam nitrogen, whereas slightly larger alkyl moieties (e.g., ethyl, cyclopropyl) are favored at the other (N-11) diazepinone nitrogen. In general, lipophilic substituents are preferred on the A ring, whereas substitution on the C ring generally reduces potency relative to the corresponding compounds with no substituents on the aromatic rings. Maximum potency is achieved with methyl substitution at the position ortho to the lactam nitrogen atom; however, in this case an unsubstituted lactam nitrogen is preferred. Additional substituents on the A ring can be readily tolerated. The dipyridodiazepinone derivative 11-cyclopropyl-5,11-dihydro-4-methyl-6H-dipyrido[3,2-b:2',3'-e] [1,4]diazepin-6-one (96, nevirapine) is a potent (IC50 = 84 nM) and and selective non-nucleoside inhibitor of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, and has been chosen for clinical evaluation.