Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Birth control: Birth control pills may be less effective while you are taking this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about appropriate methods of birth control.
Body fat changes: People using nelfinavir may notice the accumulation and redistribution of fat in their body. For example, less body fat on their arms, legs, and face, and more around the centre of their body (e.g., enlarged breasts, abdominal or central obesity, and a "buffalo hump" - a pad of fat on the back). The cause or long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time.
Diabetes: Nelfinavir may cause diabetes or increase blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you experience symptoms of diabetes such as frequency urination or increased thirst, contact your doctor. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar control worsens, contact your doctor.
Hemophilia: Nelfinavir may put people with hemophilia at a higher risk of bleeding while taking this medication. People with hemophilia should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Immune reconstitution syndrome: This medication may cause immune reconstitution syndrome, where signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections appear. These symptoms occur soon after starting anti-HIV medication and can vary. They are thought to occur as a result of the immune system improving and being able to fight infections that have been present without symptoms (such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis). Report any new symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Liver function: Nelfinavir is removed from the body by the liver and may cause liver problems. People with liver disease or decreased liver function should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Other medications: Nelfinavir may interact with a number of medications, which may mean a change in how you take this medication (See "What medications can interact with this medication?"). Tell your doctor of all medications that you are taking. Certain medications should not be taken with nelfinavir at all (see "Who should NOT take this medication?"). Nelfinavir should never be used on its own and should always be used in combination with other HIV medications.
Phenylketonuria: People with phenylketonuria (a condition where the body cannot break down phenylalanine) should be aware that the oral powder form of nelfinavir contains 11.2 mg of phenylalanine per gram of powder.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. However, breast-feeding is not recommended for women who are HIV-positive, as HIV can be transmitted to the baby through infected mothers' milk.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 2 years of age. Children under 2 years of age should not use this medication unless the benefits outweigh the risks.