STD Home > What Is Nelfinavir Used For?

Nelfinavir is used for preventing HIV from multiplying in the body. While it is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, the medication can help stop the virus from spreading to uninfected cells. Off-label nelfinavir uses may also include the prevention of postexposure prophylaxis. Nelfinavir has been approved for use in both adults and children as young as two years old.

Nelfinavir Uses: An Overview

Nelfinavir mesylate (Viracept®) is a prescription medication approved to treat HIV and AIDS (when used in combination with other medications). It is part of a group of medications known as protease inhibitors.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was initially reported in the United States in 1981. Since then, it has become a significant worldwide epidemic. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). At first, an HIV infection usually does not cause any obvious symptoms (see HIV Symptoms), and most people have no idea that they have been infected with HIV (unless they happen to be tested for HIV). However, by killing or damaging cells of the body's immune system, HIV will eventually begin to progressively destroy the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers (see AIDS Symptoms).
HIV is commonly spread through sexual contact with infected partners. HIV transmission also happens through contact with infected blood, which frequently occurs among IV drug users (who share needles or syringes contaminated with blood from someone infected with the virus) or can occur by an accidental needle stick. Women with HIV can transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
Nelfinavir is almost always used as part of an HIV "cocktail." These cocktails usually consist of three or four (or sometimes five) different HIV medications (technically known as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART). Using combinations of medications helps to prevent the virus from becoming resistant to one or more of the drugs.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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