Class: Infection

Sustiva 

(efavirenz)

Class: Infection
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Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

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Our bottom line

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.

Price and discounts
Prices and coupons for 90 (200mg) capsules of efavirenz

Upsides

  • 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.

Downsides

  • 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.
How it works

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.

What to expect when you take Sustiva (efavirenz) for HIV treatment

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Side effect rates for Sustiva (efavirenz)

412 From clinical trials of Sustiva / HIV (600 mg)
  • Skin rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Risks and Warnings for Sustiva (efavirenz)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Starting Sustiva (efavirenz) for the first few weeks.
    • Taking alcohol or other drugs that also affect your nervous system

    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.

Common concerns from people taking Sustiva (efavirenz)

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Pregnancy
Kidneys and liver
  • Can be used in patients with mild to moderate kidney damage.
  • 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.
Sleep
  • 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.