Brand Names: Sustiva
Generic Name: efavirenz
- What is efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- What are the possible side effects of efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- What is the most important information I should know about efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- How should I take efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- What happens if I miss a dose (Sustiva)?
- What happens if I overdose (Sustiva)?
- What should I avoid while taking efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- What other drugs will affect efavirenz (Sustiva)?
- Where can I get more information (Sustiva)?
What is efavirenz (Sustiva)?
Efavirenz is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Efavirenz is for adults and children who are at least 3 months old and weigh at least 8 pounds. Efavirenz is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Efavirenz may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of efavirenz (Sustiva)?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- a seizure;
- hallucinations, trouble concentrating, trouble speaking or moving (these symptoms may occur months or years after you start taking efavirenz);
- nervous system problems--dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, trouble concentrating, strange dreams, insomnia, or problems with speech, balance, or muscle movement;
- serious psychiatric symptoms--anxiety, paranoia, unusual behavior, feeling sad or hopeless, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts; or
- liver problems--nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
Psychiatric symptoms or nervous system problems may happen even months or years after you have been taking efavirenz.
Efavirenz affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine). Tell your doctor if you have:
- signs of a new infection--fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss;
- trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or
- swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting;
- dizziness, drowsiness, trouble concentrating;
- headache, tired feeling;
- sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams; or
- changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about efavirenz (Sustiva)?
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking efavirenz (Sustiva)?
You should not use efavirenz if you are allergic to it, or if you also take elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier) to treat hepatitis C.
Do not take with Atripla (combination efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir), unless your doctor tells you to.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver disease (including hepatitis B or C);
- long QT syndrome;
- a seizure;
- mental illness or psychosis;
- heart disease; or
- if you drink large amounts of alcohol or have a history of injection drug use.
Do not use efavirenz if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use 2 forms of birth control, including a barrier form (condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, or contraceptive sponge) to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 12 weeks after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
Hormonal contraception (birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings) may not be effective enough to prevent pregnancy while you are taking efavirenz.
HIV can be passed to your baby if the virus is not controlled during pregnancy. Your name may be listed on a registry to track any effects of antiviral medicine on the baby.
Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.
How should I take efavirenz (Sustiva)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Efavirenz must be given in combination with other antiviral medications and it should not be used alone. Your disease may become resistant to efavirenz if you do not take it in combination with other HIV medicines your doctor has prescribed.
Take efavirenz on an empty stomach at bedtime.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.
Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.
If you cannot swallow a capsule whole, open it and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of applesauce, yogurt, grape jelly, or infant formula (if you are giving the medicine to a baby). Swallow the mixture right away. Do not save it for later use.
After taking efavirenz using the sprinkle method, do not eat for the next 2 hours. If you give efavirenz mixed with infant formula to a baby, do not feed more formula for at least 2 hours afterward.
Efavirenz doses are based on weight in children. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.
You will need frequent medical tests.
Take efavirenz regularly to get the most benefit. Skipping doses may increase the risk of your virus becoming resistant to antiviral medicine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
This medicine may affect a drug-screening urine test and you may have false results. Tell the laboratory staff that you use efavirenz.
Use all HIV medications as directed and read all medication guides you receive. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV should remain under the care of a doctor.
What happens if I miss a dose (Sustiva)?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
Get your prescriptions refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose (Sustiva)?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking efavirenz (Sustiva)?
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of efavirenz.
Using this medicine will not prevent your disease from spreading. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
What other drugs will affect efavirenz (Sustiva)?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Efavirenz can cause a serious heart problem. Your risk may be higher if you also use certain other medicines for infections, asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure, depression, mental illness, cancer, malaria, or HIV.
Other drugs may affect efavirenz, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Where can I get more information (Sustiva)?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about efavirenz.
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