Safety profile of nevirapine, a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus infection

Clin Ther. Nov-Dec 1998;20(6):1071-92. doi: 10.1016/s0149-2918(98)80105-7.


Nevirapine (NVP) is a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor widely used in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus disease. To establish its safety profile, we conducted a review of data from prospective US and international clinical trials involving a total of 906 adult patients and 468 pediatric patients treated with NVP. Drug-related adverse events were similar in adults and children, with rash and nausea most frequently reported in adults and rash and granulocytopenia most frequently reported in children. A separate analysis of rash based on data from adult patients in controlled trials demonstrated a 16% rate of NVP-attributable rash in these patients. Of patients with NVP-associated rash, 65% developed rash within the first 6 weeks of therapy, and it has been shown that a lower lead-in dose (200 mg/d vs the standard 400 mg/d) for the first 2 weeks of NVP treatment reduces the frequency of drug-associated rash. Serious rash (Stevens-Johnson syndrome [SJS] or SJS/toxic epidermal necrolysis transition syndrome) occurred with an incidence of 0.3% and clinical hepatitis with an incidence of 1.0% among NVP-treated patients in clinical trials. Adverse event data from long-term clinical trials demonstrated a lower incidence of NVP-related adverse events than in short-term trials of NVP therapy. An analysis of abnormal laboratory findings using thresholds similar to those found in the prescribing information for other commonly used antiretroviral agents and data from controlled trials in adults showed that the most frequently observed laboratory abnormalities were elevations in liver function test results. Approximately 50,000 patients in the United States had been treated with marketed NVP at the time of writing, and postmarketing surveillance has supported the overall safety profile observed in clinical trials. NVP has been shown to be well tolerated in both adult and pediatric patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevirapine / adverse effects*
  • Nevirapine / therapeutic use
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Nevirapine