HIV Drug linked to Liver Failure

ATLANTA-Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting serious side effects for a common HIV medication.

Nevirapine, marketed by Ohio based Roxane Laboratories under the name Viramune, is often prescribed after HIV exposure. Theoretically it works more quickly than other AIDS drugs and is recommended for preventing AIDS transmission from infected mothers to their babies.

At least 22 people have suffered serious side effects, including liver failure, from taking the drug. Nevirapine is intended to prevent HIV infection after accidental exposure to the virus. The CDC reports that most of these people are healthcare workers who were exposed to HIV in the workplace.

The investigation began after a 43-year-old female healthcare worker who took nevirapine after a needlestick incident required a liver transplant. In a second incidence, a 38-year-old male physician who had mucous membrane exposure was hospitalized with hepatitis after taking nevirapine.

Information from