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Sustiva Tablets

Generic Name: Efavirenz Tablets (e FAV e renz)
Brand Name: Sustiva

Medically reviewed on July 4, 2018

Uses of Sustiva:

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Sustiva?

  • If you have an allergy to efavirenz or any other part of Sustiva (efavirenz tablets).
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have had red, blistered, swollen, or peeling skin after taking efavirenz.
  • If you have liver disease.
  • If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with Sustiva (efavirenz tablets), like certain drugs that are used for hepatitis C, HIV, or infections. There are many drugs that must not be taken with Sustiva (efavirenz tablets).
  • If you are taking another drug that has the same drug in it.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Sustiva (efavirenz tablets).

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Sustiva?

For all patients taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets):

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) affects you.
  • Do not run out of Sustiva (efavirenz tablets).
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets).
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • This medicine is not a cure for HIV. Stay under the care of your doctor.
  • This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may raise the chance of seizures in some people, including people who have had seizures in the past. Talk to your doctor to see if you have a greater chance of seizures while taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets).
  • This medicine may cause high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Talk with the doctor.
  • A type of abnormal heartbeat (prolonged QT interval) can happen with Sustiva (efavirenz tablets). Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, or if you pass out.
  • Changes in your immune system can happen when you start taking drugs to treat HIV. If you have an infection that you did not know you had, it may show up when you take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets). Tell your doctor right away if you have any new signs after you start Sustiva (efavirenz tablets), even after taking it for several months. This includes signs of infection like fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • If you are able to get pregnant, a pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting Sustiva (efavirenz tablets). Talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) and for 3 months after care ends.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) and for 3 months after your last dose.
  • If you get pregnant while taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) or within 3 months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
  • Do not breast-feed if you have HIV disease unless your doctor tells you to.

Children:

  • If your child's weight changes, talk with the doctor. The dose of Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) may need to be changed.

How is this medicine (Sustiva) best taken?

Use Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) at bedtime.
  • Take on an empty stomach.
  • Take with a full glass of water.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew or crush.
  • Do not split or break tablet.
  • If you have trouble swallowing, talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine interacts with many other drugs. The chance of Sustiva (efavirenz tablets)'s side effects may be raised or how well Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) works may be lowered. The chance of the other drugs' side effects may also be raised. This may include very bad, life-threatening, or deadly side effects. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for you to take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) with all of your other drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins).
  • It is important that you do not miss or skip a dose of Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) during treatment.
  • Keep taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
  • Change in body fat.
  • Change in the way you act.
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
  • Memory problems or loss.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Seizures.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with Sustiva (efavirenz tablets). Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.

What are some other side effects of Sustiva?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Headache.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • This medicine may cause you to have dizziness, sleepiness, trouble sleeping, trouble focusing, or dreams that are not normal. Most of the time, these effects go away after taking Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) for 2 to 4 weeks. It may help if you take Sustiva (efavirenz tablets) at bedtime. If you feel dizzy or sleepy, or you have trouble focusing, avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert. Call your doctor if these effects last, they bother you, or are very bad.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Sustiva?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Sustiva (efavirenz tablets), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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