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EFAVIRENZ HETERO 600 MG FILM-COATED TABLETS

Active substance(s): EFAVIRENZ

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Package leaflet: Information for the user
Efavirenz 600 mg Film-coated tablets
efavirenz

Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking this medicine because it contains important
information for you.
Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
If you have any further questions, ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
This medicine has been prescribed for you only. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even if
their signs of illness are the same as yours.
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side
effects not listed in this leaflet. See section 4.
What is in this leaflet
1.
What Efavirenz 600 mg is and what it is used for
2.
What you need to know before you take Efavirenz 600 mg
3.
How to take Efavirenz 600 mg
4.
Possible side effects
5.
How to store Efavirenz 600 mg
6.
Contents of the pack and other information

1.

What Efavirenz 600 mg is and what it is used for

Efavirenz 600 mg Film-coated tablets which, contains the active substance efavirenz, belongs to a class of
antiretroviral medicines called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). It is an
antiretroviral medicine that fights human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection by reducing the
amount of the virus in blood. It is used by adults, adolescents and children 3 years of age and older.
Your doctor has prescribed Efavirenz 600 mg for you because you have HIV infection.
Efavirenz 600 mg taken in combination with other antiretroviral medicines reduces the amount of the virus
in the blood. This will strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of developing illnesses linked to
HIV infection.

2.

What you need to know before you take Efavirenz 600 mg

Do not take Efavirenz 600 mg:

if you are allergic to efavirenz or any of the other ingredients of this medicine (listed in section 6).
Contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

if you have severe liver disease.

if you are currently taking any of the following medicines:
astemizole or terfenadine (used to treat allergy symptoms)
bepridil (used to treat heart disease)
cisapride (used to treat heartburn)
ergot alkaloids (for example, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, and
methylergonovine) (used to treat migraine and cluster headaches)
midazolam or triazolam (used to help you sleep)
pimozide (used to treat certain mental conditions)
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) (a herbal remedy used for depression and anxiety)
If you are taking any of these medicines, tell your doctor immediately. Taking these medicines with
Efavirenz 600 mg could create the potential for serious and/or life-threatening side-effects or stop Efavirenz
600 mg from working properly.
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Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor before taking Efavirenz 600 mg


Efavirenz 600 mg must be taken with other medicines that act against the HIV virus. If
Efavirenz 600 mg is started because your current treatment has not prevented the virus from
multiplying, another medicine you have not taken before must be started at the same time.



You can still pass on HIV when taking this medicine, although the risk is lowered by effective
antiretroviral therapy. Discuss with your doctor the precautions needed to avoid infecting other
people. This medicine is not a cure for HIV infection and you may continue to develop infections or
other illnesses associated with HIV disease.
• You must remain under the care of your doctor while taking Efavirenz 600 mg.



Tell your doctor:
-

if you have a history of mental illness, including depression, or of substance or alcohol abuse.
Tell your doctor immediately if you feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts or have strange
thoughts (see section 4, Possible side effects).

-

if you have a history of convulsions (fits or seizures) or if you are being treated with
anticonvulsant therapy such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital and phenytoin. If you are taking
any of these medicines, your doctor may need to check the level of anticonvulsant medicine in
your blood to ensure that it is not affected while taking Efavirenz 600 mg. Your doctor may
give you a different anticonvulsant.

-

if you have a history of liver disease, including active chronic hepatitis. Patients with
chronic hepatitis B or C and treated with combination antiretroviral agents have a higher risk
for severe and potentially life-threatening liver problems. Your doctor may conduct blood tests
in order to check how well your liver is working or may switch you to another medicine. If you
have severe liver disease, do not take Efavirenz 600 mg (see section 2, Do not take Efavirenz
600 mg).

• Once you start taking Efavirenz 600 mg, look out for:
-

signs of dizziness, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating or abnormal
dreaming. These side effects may start in the first 1 or 2 days of treatment and usually go away
after the first 2 to 4 weeks.

-

any signs of skin rash. If you see any signs of a severe rash with blistering or fever, stop taking
Efavirenz 600 mg and tell your doctor at once. If you had a rash while taking another NNRTI,
you may be at a higher risk of getting a rash with Efavirenz 600 mg.

-

any signs of inflammation or infection. In some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS)
and a history of opportunistic infection, signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous
infections may occur soon after anti-HIV treatment is started. It is believed that these symptoms
are due to an improvement in the body’s immune response, enabling the body to fight infections
that may have been present with no obvious symptoms. If you notice any symptoms of
infection, please tell your doctor immediately.
In addition to the opportunistic infections, autoimmune disorders (a condition that occurs when
the immune system attacks healthy body tissue) may also occur after you start taking medicines
for the treatment of your HIV infection. Autoimmune disorders may occur many months after
the start of treatment. If you notice any symptoms of infection or other symptoms such as
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muscle weakness, weakness beginning in the hands and feet and moving up towards the trunk
of the body, palpitations, tremor or hyperactivity, please inform your doctor immediately to
seek necessary treatment.
-

changes in body fat. Redistribution, accumulation or loss of body fat may occur in patients
receiving combination antiretroviral therapy. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your
body fat.

-

bone problems. Some patients taking combination antiretroviral therapy may develop a bone
disease called osteonecrosis (death of bone tissue caused by loss of blood supply to the bone).
The length of combination antiretroviral therapy, corticosteroid use, alcohol consumption,
severe immunosuppression, higher body mass index, among others, may be some of the many
risk factors for developing this disease. Signs of osteonecrosis are joint stiffness, aches and
pains (especially of the hip, knee and shoulder) and difficulty in movement. If you notice any of
these symptoms please inform your doctor.

Children and adolescents
Efavirenz is not recommended for children under the age of 3 years or weighing less than 13 kg because it
has not been adequately studied in these patients
Other medicines and Efavirenz 600 mg
You must not take Efavirenz 600 mg with certain medicines. These are listed under Do not take
Efavirenz 600 mg, at the start of Section 2. They include some common medicines and a herbal remedy (St.
John’s wort) which can cause serious interactions.
Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other
medicines.
Efavirenz 600 mg may interact with other medicines, including herbal preparations such as Ginkgo biloba
extracts. As a result, the amounts of Efavirenz 600 mg or other medicines in your blood may be affected.
This may stop the medicines from working properly, or may take any side effects worse. In some cases, your
doctor may need to adjust your dose or check your blood levels. It is important to tell your doctor if you
are taking any of the following:


Other medicines used for HIV infection:
protease inhibitors: darunavir, indinavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, ritonavir, ritonavir boosted
atazanavir, saquinavir or fosamprenavir/saquinavir. Your doctor may consider giving you an
alternative medicine or changing the dose of the protease inhibitors.
maraviroc
the combination tablet containing efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir should not be taken
with Efavirenz 600 mg unless recommended by your doctor since it contains efavirenz, the
active ingredient of Efavirenz 600 mg.



Medicines used to treat infection with the hepatitis C virus: boceprevir, telaprevir.



Medicines used to treat bacterial infections, including tuberculosis and AIDS-related
mycobacterium avium complex: clarithromycin, rifabutin, rifampicin. Your doctor may consider
changing your dose or giving you an alternative antibiotic. In addition, your doctor may prescribe a
higher dose of Efavirenz 600 mg.



Medicines used to treat fungal infections (antifungals):
voriconazole. Efavirenz 600 mg may reduce the amount of voriconazole in your blood and
voriconazole may increase the amount of Efavirenz 600 mg in your blood. If you take these two
medicines together, the dose of voriconazole must be increased and the dose of efavirenz must
be reduced. You must check with your doctor first.
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-

itraconazole. Efavirenz 600 mg may reduce the amount of itraconazole in your blood.
posaconazole. Efavirenz 600 mg may reduce the amount of posaconazole in your blood.



Medicines used to treat malaria:
artemether/lumefantrine: Efavirenz may reduce the amount of artemether/lumefantrine in your
blood.
atovaquone/proguanil: Efavirenz may reduce the amount of atovaquone/proguanil in your
blood.



Medicines used to treat convulsions/seizures (anticonvulsants): carbamazepine, phenytoin,
phenobarbital. Efavirenz can reduce or increase the amount of anticonvulsant in your blood.
Carbamazepine may make Efavirenz less likely to work. Your doctor may need to consider giving you
a different anticonvulsant.



Medicines used to lower blood fats (also called statins): atorvastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin.
Efavirenz 600 mg can reduce the amount of statins in your blood. Your doctor will check your
cholesterol levels and will consider changing the dose of your statin, if needed.



Methadone (a medicine used to treat opiate addiction): your doctor may need to change your dose of
methadone.



Sertraline (a medicine used to treat depression): your doctor may need to change your dose of
sertraline.



Bupropion (a medicine used to treat depression or to help you stop smoking): your doctor may need
to change your dose of bupropion.



Diltiazem or similar medicines (called calcium channel blockers which are medicines typically
used for high blood pressure or heart problems): when you start taking Efavirenz 600 mg, your
doctor may need to adjust your dose of the calcium channel blocker.



Immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine, sirolimus, or tacrolimus (medicines used to prevent
organ transplant rejection): when you start or stop taking Efavirenz 600 mg, your doctor will closely
monitor your plasma levels of the immunosuppressant and may need to adjust its dose.



Hormonal contraceptive, such as birth control pills, an injected contraceptive (for example,
Depo-Provera), or a contraceptive implant (for example, Implanon): you must also use a reliable
barrier method of contraception (see Pregnancy, breast-feeding and fertility). Efavirenz 600 mg may
make hormonal contraceptives less likely to work. Pregnancies have occurred in women taking
efavirenz while using a contraceptive implant, although it has not been established that the efavirenz
therapy caused the contraceptive to fail.



Warfarin or acenocoumarol (medicines used to reduce clotting of the blood): your doctor may need
to adjust your dose of warfarin or acenocoumarol.



Ginkgo biloba extracts (a herbal preparation)

Efavirenz 600 mg with food and drink
Taking Efavirenz 600 mg on an empty stomach, may reduce the undesirable effects. Grapefruit juice should
be avoided when taking Efavirenz 600 mg.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Women should not get pregnant during treatment with Efavirenz 600 mg and for 12 weeks thereafter.
Your doctor may require you to take a pregnancy test to ensure you are not pregnant before starting
treatment with Efavirenz 600 mg.
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If you could get pregnant while receiving Efavirenz 600 mg, you need to use a reliable form of barrier
contraception (for example, a condom) with other methods of contraception including oral (pill) or other
hormonal contraceptives (for example, implants, injection). Efavirenz may remain in your blood for a time
after therapy is stopped. Therefore, you should continue to use contraceptive measures, as above, for 12
weeks after you stop taking Efavirenz 600 mg.
Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. If you are pregnant,
you should take Efavirenz 600 mg only if you and your doctor decide it is clearly needed. Ask your doctor
or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.
Serious birth defects have been seen in unborn animals and in the babies of women treated with efavirenz or
a combination medicine containing efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir, during pregnancy. If you have
taken Efavirenz 600 mg or the combination medicine during your pregnancy, your doctor may request
regular blood tests and other diagnostic tests to monitor the development of your child.
You should not breast feed your baby if you are taking Efavirenz 600 mg.
Driving and using machines
Efavirenz 600 mg contains efavirenz and may cause dizziness, impaired concentration, and
drowsiness. If you are affected, do not drive and do not use any tools or machines.
Efavirenz 600 mg contains lactose in each 600-mg daily dose.
If you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before
taking this medicinal product. Individuals with these conditions may take another, lactose-free efavirenz
formulation available on the market free from lactose.

3.

How to take Efavirenz 600 mg

Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist if you are not sure. Your doctor will give you instructions for proper dosing.







The dose for adults is 600 mg once daily.
The dose for efavirenz may need to be increased or decreased if you are also taking certain medicines
(see Other medicines and Efavirenz 600 mg).
Efavirenz 600 mg is for oral use. Efavirenz 600 mg is recommended to be taken on an empty stomach
preferably at bedtime. This may make some side effects (for example, dizziness, drowsiness) less
troublesome. An empty stomach is commonly defined as 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
It is recommended that the tablet be swallowed whole with water.
Efavirenz 600 mg must be taken every day.
Efavirenz 600 mg should never be used alone to treat HIV. Efavirenz 600 mg must always be taken in
combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Use in children and adolescents

Efavirenz 600 mg film-coated tablets are not suitable for children weighing less than 40 kg.

The dose for children weighing 40 kg or more is 600 mg once daily.
If you take more Efavirenz 600 mg than you should
If you take too much Efavirenz 600 mg, contact your doctor or nearest emergency department for advice.
Keep the medicine container with you so that you can easily describe what you have taken.
If you forget to take Efavirenz 600 mg

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Try not to miss a dose. If you do miss a dose, take the next dose as soon as possible, but do not take a
double dose to make up for a forgotten dose. If you need help in planning the best times to take your
medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you stop taking Efavirenz 600 mg
When your Efavirenz 600 mg supply starts to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist. This is
very important because the amount of virus may start to increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short
time. The virus may then become harder to treat.
If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

4.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
When treating HIV infection, it is not always possible to tell whether some of the unwanted effects are
caused by Efavirenz 600 mg or by other medicines that you are taking at the same time, or by the HIV
disease itself.
The most notable unwanted effects reported with efavirenz in combination with other anti-HIV medicines
are skin rash and nervous system symptoms.
You should consult your doctor if you have a rash, since some rashes may be serious; however, most cases
of rash disappear without any change to your treatment with efavirenz. Rash was more common in children
than in adults treated with efavirenz.
The nervous system symptoms tend to occur when treatment is first started, but generally decrease in the
first few weeks. In one study, nervous system symptoms often occurred during the first 1-3 hours after
taking a dose. If you are affected your doctor may suggest that you take Efavirenz 600 mg at bedtime and on
an empty stomach. Some patients have more serious symptoms that may affect mood or the ability to think
clearly. Some patients have actually committed suicide. These problems tend to occur more often in those
who have a history of mental illness. Always notify your doctor immediately if you have these symptoms or
any side effects while taking Efavirenz 600 mg.
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:
Very common (affects more than 1 user in 10)
skin rash
Common (affects 1 to 10 users in 100)
abnormal dreams, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, headache, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness,
problems with coordination or balance
stomach pain, diarrhoea, feeling sick (nausea), vomiting
itching
tiredness
feeling worried, feeling depressed
Tests may show:
increased liver enzymes in the blood
increased triglycerides (fatty acids) in the blood
Uncommon (affects 1 to 10 users in 1,000)
nervousness, forgetfulness, confusion, fitting (seizures), abnormal thoughts
blurred vision
a feeling of spinning or tilting (vertigo)
pain in the abdomen (stomach) caused by inflammation of the pancreas
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-

allergic reaction (hypersensitivity) that may cause severe skin reactions (erythema multiforme,
Stevens-Johnson syndrome)
yellow skin or eyes, itching, or pain in the abdomen (stomach) caused by inflammation of the liver
breast enlargement in males
angry behaviour, mood being affected, seeing or hearing things that are not really there
(hallucinations), mania (mental condition characterised by episodes of overactivity, elation or
irritability), paranoia, suicidal thoughts
whistling, ringing or other persistent noise in the ears
tremor (shaking)
flushing
Tests may show:
increased cholesterol in the blood
Rare (affects 1 to 10 users in 10,000)
itchy rash caused by a reaction to sunlight
Liver failure, in some cases leading to death or liver transplant, has occurred with efavirenz. Most
cases occurred in patients who already had liver disease, but there have been a few reports in patients
without any existing liver disease.
unexplained feelings of distress not associated with hallucinations, but it may be difficult to think
clearly or sensibly
suicide
Combination antiretroviral therapy may change your body shape, by changing the way body fat is
distributed. You may lose fat from your legs, arms and face, gain fat around the abdomen (tummy) and other
internal organs, get larger breasts or fatty lumps on the back of the neck ('buffalo hump'). The cause and
long-term health effects of these conditions are not yet known.
Combination antiretroviral therapy may also cause raised lactic acid and sugar in the blood, increased fat
levels in the blood (hyperlipaemia) and resistance to insulin. Your doctor will test for these changes.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects
not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the national reporting system listed in
Appendix V. By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

5.

How to store Efavirenz 600 mg

Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children.
Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the bottle or blister and on the carton after
EXP. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
Do not throw away any medicines via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to throw
away medicines you no longer use. These measures will help protect the environment.

6.

Contents of the pack and other information

What Efavirenz 600 mg contains




Each Efavirenz 600 mg film-coated tablet contains 600 mg of the active substance efavirenz.
The other ingredients of the tablet core are: microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, sodium
laurilsulfate, croscarmellose sodium, hydroxypropylcellulose, magnesium stearate
The film coating contains: hypromellose (E464), titanium dioxide (E171), yellow iron oxide (E172)
and macrogol (E1521).
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What Efavirenz 600 mg looks like and contents of the pack
Efavirenz 600 mg film-coated tablets are supplied in bottles of 30 tablets.
Efavirenz 600 mg film-coated tablets are also supplied in packs containing 30 or 90 tablets in blisters. Not
all pack sizes may be marketed.
Marketing Authorisation Holder and Manufacturer
Marketing Auhtorisation Holder
Accord Healthcare Limited
Sage House, 319 Pinner Road,
North Harrow,
Middlesex,
HA1 4HF,
United Kingdom

Manufacturer
Pharmadox HeaIthcare Ltd.
KW20A Kordin Industrial Park, Paola, PLA 3000
Malta

This medicinal product is authorised in the Member States of the EEA under the following names:
The Netherlands:
Germany:
Spain:
Croatia:
United Kingdom:

Efavirenz Hetero 600 mg filmomhulde tabletten
Efavirenz Hetero 600 mg Filmtabletten
Efavirenz Hetero 600 mg comprimidos recubiertos con película EFG
Efavirenz Alpha-Medical 600 mg filmom obložene tablete
Efavirenz Hetero 600 mg Film-coated tablets

This leaflet was last revised in 04/2016.

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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