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An Overview of Sustiva (Efavirenz, Stocrin)

August 23, 2013

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Efavirenz capsule 250 mgEfavirenz pillEfavirenz 50

Brand Name: Sustiva
Other Name(s): EFV
Drug Class: Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Approved Use: Treatment of HIV Infection

WARNING:

Efavirenz can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include serious psychiatric problems and liver problems.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal psychiatric problems:

  • Severe depression.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Strange thoughts.
  • Angry behavior.

Some people taking efavirenz have experienced serious liver problems. This usually occurred in people with a chronic liver disease (such as hepatitis infection), but there have also been a few reports in people without any existing liver disease. Tell your health care provider if you notice any side effects while taking efavirenz.

Women should not become pregnant while taking efavirenz and for 12 weeks after stopping the drug. Serious birth defects have been seen in the babies of animals and women treated with efavirenz during pregnancy. Whether efavirenz caused the birth defects is unknown.

While taking efavirenz, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.


What is efavirenz?

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Efavirenz is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and in children 3 months of age and older who weigh at least 3.5 kilograms (7 pounds 12 ounces). Efavirenz is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Efavirenz is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). NNRTIs work by binding to and blocking HIV reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.

Efavirenz does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if efavirenz reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.


What should I tell my health care provider before taking efavirenz?

Before taking efavirenz, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to efavirenz or any other medicines.
  • If you have liver problems or hepatitis.
  • If you have ever had mental illness or are using drugs or alcohol.
  • If you have ever had seizures or are taking medicine for seizures.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Women should not become pregnant while taking efavirenz and for 12 weeks after stopping the drug. Serious birth defects have been seen in the babies of animals and women treated with efavirenz during pregnancy. Whether efavirenz caused the birth defects is unknown. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking efavirenz.
  • If you are taking birth control pills. Efavirenz can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Efavirenz may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines and products may affect how efavirenz works. Taking efavirenz together with certain medicines or products may cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.
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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
 
See Also
More on HIV Medications
More on Sustiva (Efavirenz, Stocrin)
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