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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Sustiva

Generic Name: efavirenz (Pronunciation: e FAV ir enz)

What is efavirenz (Sustiva)?

Efavirenz is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Efavirenz is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Efavirenz is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Efavirenz may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Sustiva 100 mg

capsule, white, imprinted with SUSTIVA, 100 mg

Sustiva 200 mg

capsule, yellow, imprinted with SUSTIVA, 200 mg

Sustiva 50 mg

capsule, white/yellow, imprinted with SUSTIVA, 50 mg

Sustiva 600 mg

oblong, yellow, imprinted with SUSTIVA

What are the possible side effects of efavirenz (Sustiva)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using efavirenz and call your doctor at once if you have a severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Efavirenz may cause serious psychiatric symptoms including confusion, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, aggression, extreme fear, hallucinations, or unusual behavior. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects, even if you have had them before.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • any other signs of new infection.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation;
  • cough;
  • blurred vision;
  • headache, tired feeling, dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • trouble concentrating, problems with balance or coordination;
  • muscle or joint pain;
  • sleep problems (insomnia), unusual 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)?

Do not use efavirenz if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use two forms of birth control, including a barrier form (such as a condom or diaphragm with spermicide gel) while you are taking efavirenz, and for at least 12 weeks after your treatment ends. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Efavirenz may cause serious psychiatric symptoms including confusion, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, aggression, extreme fear, hallucinations, or unusual behavior. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects, even if you have had them before.

Do not take efavirenz with cisapride (Propulsid), pimozide (Orap), midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion), or ergot medicines such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45), ergonovine (Ergotrate), ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, Wigraine), or methylergonovine (Methergine). These drugs can cause life-threatening side effects if you use them while you are taking efavirenz.

There are many other medicines that can interact with efavirenz, or make it less effective. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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