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Active substance(s): EFAVIRENZ

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Package leaflet: Information for the user

Efavirenz 600 mg film-coated tablets
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 or pharmacist.
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 or pharmacist. This includes any possible
side effects not listed in this leaflet.
What is in this leaflet
1. What Efavirenz is and what it is used for
2. What you need to know before you take Efavirenz
3. How to take Efavirenz
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Efavirenz
6. Contents of the pack and other information
1. What Efavirenz is and what it is used for
Efavirenz, 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) infection by
reducing the amount of the virus in blood.
Your doctor has prescribed Efavirenz for you because you have HIV infection.
Efavirenz taken in combination with other antiretroviral medicines reduces the amount of the
virus in the blood.

or other symptoms such as muscle weakness, weakness beginning in the hands and
feet and moving up towards the trunk of 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 film-coated tablets are not suitable for children weighing less than 40 kg.
Other medicines and Efavirenz
You must not take Efavirenz with certain medicines. These are listed under Do not take
Efavirenz, 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 may interact with other medicines, including herbal medicines such as Ginkgo
biloba extracts. As a result, the amounts of Efavirenz or other medicines in your blood may
be affected. This may stop the medicines from working properly, or may make 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 or your pharmacist if you are taking any of the

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
- a combination medicine containing efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir, which is
currently known as ATRIPLA. Efavirenz should not be taken with ATRIPLA since it
contains efavirenz, the active ingredient of Efavirenz.

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.

Medicines used to treat fungal infections (antifungals):
- voriconazole. Efavirenz may reduce the amount of voriconazole in your blood and
voriconazole may increase the amount of Efavirenz 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.
- itraconazole. Efavirenz may reduce the amount of itraconazole in your blood.
- posaconazole. Efavirenz may reduce the amount of posaconazole in your blood.

Medicines used to treat malaria:
- 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 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

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): when you start
taking Efavirenz, your doctor may need to adjust your dose of the calcium channel

Immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine, sirolimus, or tacrolimus (medicines
used to prevent organ transplant rejection): when you start or stop taking Efavirenz,
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 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 remedy).

2. What you need to know before you take Efavirenz
Do not take Efavirenz:

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
If you are taking any of these medicines, tell your doctor immediately. Taking these
medicines with Efavirenz could create the potential for serious and/or life-threatening sideeffects or stop Efavirenz from working properly.
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Efavirenz.

Efavirenz must be taken with other medicines that act against the HIV virus. If
Efavirenz 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
You can still pass on HIV when taking this medicine, so it is important to take
precautions to avoid infecting other people through sexual contact or blood transfer.
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.

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. 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 (see
section 2, Do not take Efavirenz).

Once you start taking Efavirenz, 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 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.


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




Efavirenz 600 mg

Efavirenz 600 mg

Pharmacode position may change as per Supplier's m/c requirement &additional
small pharma code may appear on the front / back panel

Efavirenz with food and drink
Taking Efavirenz on an empty stomach, may reduce the undesirable effects.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding and fertility
Women should not get pregnant during treatment with Efavirenz 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.

If you could get pregnant while receiving Efavirenz, 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.
Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant or become pregnant. If you are pregnant
you should take Efavirenz 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 during pregnancy. If you have taken Efavirenz 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.

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)

Tests may show:

increased cholesterol in the blood

3. How to take Efavirenz

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.
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.

Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. It is
recommended that the tablet be swallowed whole with water. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist if you are not sure. Your doctor will give you instructions for proper dosing.

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
Yellow Card Scheme at: By reporting side effects you can
help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

Driving and using machines
Efavirenz 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 contains lactose monohydrate. If you have been told by your doctor that you
have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before taking this medicinal

Efavirenz is for oral use. Efavirenz 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.
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).
Efavirenz must be taken every day.
Efavirenz should never be used alone to treat HIV. Efavirenz must always be taken in
combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Use in children and adolescents

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

5. How to store Efavirenz
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 label, carton after EXP.
The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
This medicinal product does not require any special storage conditions
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
6. Contents of the pack and other information

If you forget to take Efavirenz
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
When your Efavirenz 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.

What Efavirenz contains
The active substance is efavirenz. Each film-coated tablet contains 600 mg of efavirenz.
The other ingredients are:
Tablet core: Cellulose, microcrystalline (Grade -101) (E460), low-substituted
hydroxypropyl cellulose (LH-21), lactose monohydrate, hydroxypropyl cellulose (low
viscosity grade), silica, colloidal anhydrous, crospovidone (type – B), sodium lauryl
sulphate, Cellulose, microcrystalline (Grade 200) (E460), crospovidone (type – A),
magnesium stearate.

If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor, pharmacist or

Tablet coat: Hypromellose type 2910 (E464), macrogol, titanium dioxide (E171), iron
oxide yellow (E172).

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 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 antiHIV 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 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.
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



feeling worried, feeling depressed
Tests may show:

increased liver enzymes in the blood

increased trigycerides (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

What Efavirenz looks like and contents of the pack
Film-coated tablet.
Yellow coloured, oval shaped, beveled edge, biconvex, film-coated tablets, debossed with
‘L’ on one side and ‘11’ on the other side. The size is 20.1 mm X 9.6 mm.
Efavirenz 600 mg film-coated tablets are available in clear PVC/ PVdC- Aluminium foil blister
pack and white opaque HDPE bottle pack with white opaque polypropylene closure.
Blister pack: 30 and 90 tablets
HDPE bottle pack: 30, 90 and 500 tablets
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
Marketing Authorisation Holder
Milpharm Limited
Ares Block, Odyssey Business Park
West End Road
Ruislip HA4 6QD
United Kingdom
APL Swift Services (Malta) Limited
HF26, Hal Far Industrial Estate, Hal Far
Birzebbugia, BBG 3000
Milpharm Limited
Ares Block, Odyssey Business Park
West End Road
Ruislip HA4 6QD
United Kingdom
This leaflet was last revised in 05/2014.


4. Possible side effects

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