Compare Sustiva vs. Intelence

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Sustiva
(efavirenz)

Intelence
(etravirine)

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Sustiva (efavirenz) is one of the most widely used and effective components of an HIV medication regimen. However, it is not a first-line choice because it can have a lot of side effects.Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Intelence (etravirine) can be an option for patients who are already taking HIV medications but are in need of improving their current HIV drug regimen.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Sustiva (efavirenz)?
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Have you used Intelence (etravirine)?
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Side effects
SustivaIntelence
  • Skin rash 16%
  • Diarrhea 14%
  • Pain 13%
  • Nausea 10%
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Itching 9%
  • Fatigue 8%
  • Headache 8%
More Sustiva side effects »
  • Skin rash 7%
  • Tingling in the arms & legs 2%
More Intelence side effects »
How it works
SustivaIntelence
Sustiva (efavirenz) is a Non-Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). It treats HIV by stopping the virus from replicating within cells in your immune system.Intelence (etravirine) is a Non-Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). It treats HIV by stopping the virus from reproducing within cells in your immune system.
Type of medication
SustivaIntelence
Prescription only
Available as
SustivaIntelence
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for
SustivaIntelence
Risk factors for serious side effects
SustivaIntelence
  • Starting Sustiva (efavirenz) for the first few weeks.
  • Taking alcohol or other drugs that also affect your nervous system
  • HIV treatment
  • History of liver damage
  • Alcohol intake
Detailed Sustiva (efavirenz) risks & warnings »
  • Use of Intelence (etravirine)
  • HIV treatment
  • HIV
  • Exposure to other infections
  • Start of a new HIV medication
Detailed Intelence (etravirine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Food
SustivaIntelence
No food related info.
  • Take after meals to increase drug absorption.
  • Should be taken after meals.
Kidneys and liver
SustivaIntelence
  • Liver damage has been reported in patients who use Sustiva (efavirenz). Your doctor might do blood tests to check your liver regularly. If you notice yellowing of the eyes or the skin, or dark urine, talk to your doctor right away.
  • Can be used in patients with mild to moderate kidney damage.
  • Can be used in patients with kidney damage.
Sleep
SustivaIntelence
  • Some patients experience central nervous system side effects when starting Sustiva (efavirenz), such as dizziness, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, and strange dreams. Taking Sustiva (efavirenz) at bedtime will help lower the risk of experiencing these side effects. These symptoms are common in the first few weeks of starting treatment and usually go away. If symptoms don't improve or are preventing you from taking your medications regularly, let your doctor know.
No sleep related info.
Upsides and benefits
SustivaIntelence
  • If first-line choices for HIV medications are not an option, Sustiva (efavirenz) would be a good alternative to consider.
  • Only taken once daily.
  • Sustiva (efavirenz) is available in combination tablets.
  • Can be used in patients with mild to moderate kidney damage.
  • Can be used in children who are at least 3 months old.
  • Intelence (etravirine) has a lower rate of failure due to single HIV mutations compared to other HIV drugs in its class.
  • Can be used in patients with kidney damage.
  • If swallowing a tablet is difficult, you can dissolve Intelence (etravirine) in water and drink it.
  • Can used by children 6 years and older.
Downsides and risks
SustivaIntelence
  • Not suggested for women who plan on becoming pregnant.
  • Many people exerience intolerable side effects (eg. insomnia, dizziness, abnormal dreams, confusion), which make it hard to take the medication regularly.
  • Cannot be taken alone for treatment of HIV.
  • Taken twice daily.
  • Should be taken after meals.
  • Not for use in patients who are new to HIV medications.
  • Intelence (etravirine) can interact with a significant number of drugs.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
SustivaIntelence
  • Side effects such as dizziness, insomnia, and/or abnormal dreams are common within the first few weeks of starting Sustiva (efavirenz). Talk to your doctor if these side effects last longer or are preventing you from taking your medication regularly.
  • Should be taken on an empty stomach at bedtime to reduce side effects.
  • Women taking Sustiva (efavirenz) should be on effective form(s) of birth control, as Sustiva (efavirenz) can cause birth defects.
  • If swallowing the capsule is difficult, you may open the capsules and sprinkle/mix the contents over a small amount of food (eg. applesause, yogurt) before taking.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medication while on Sustiva (efavirenz) to prevent drug interactions.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled doctor and lab appointments. These help ensure your medication is working well and safely.
  • Take after meals to increase drug absorption.
  • If you’re unable to swallow tablets, try dispersing a tablet in at least a teaspoonful of water (enough to cover the tablet), stir well (until milky) and drink immediately.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting or stopping medications in order to prevent harmful interactions.
  • Always practice safe sex while taking Intelence (etravirine). Don't share needles or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them.
  • Immediately report any signs of liver problems (jaundice, dark urine, yellowing of eyes, etc.) or sensitivity reactions (rash, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, etc.) to your doctor.
Learn more
More about SustivaSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Sustiva (efavirenz)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about IntelenceSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Intelence (etravirine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it