Sustiva (Efavirenz) – Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, and More



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Short general description of Sustiva (Efavirenz)

Sustiva, also known by its generic name Efavirenz, is a medication widely used in the treatment of HIV infection. It belongs to a class of drugs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), which work by blocking the action of a specific enzyme needed for the virus to multiply.

How Sustiva works

Sustiva specifically targets the reverse transcriptase enzyme, which HIV uses to replicate itself within the body. By inhibiting this enzyme, Sustiva prevents the virus from making copies of itself, thereby reducing the viral load in the bloodstream and slowing down the progression of HIV.

Benefits of Sustiva

– Effective in reducing viral load and increasing CD4 cell counts
– Once-daily dosing for convenience
– Can be taken with or without food
– Generally well-tolerated with manageable side effects
– Plays a key role in combination therapy for HIV treatment

Side effects of Sustiva

While Sustiva is generally well-tolerated, some common side effects may include:
– Dizziness
– Insomnia
– Rash
– Impaired concentration
– Abnormal dreams
It is important to discuss potential side effects with a healthcare provider before starting treatment with Sustiva.

Warnings and precautions

Before taking Sustiva, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any existing medical conditions, allergies, or medications you are currently taking. Sustiva may interact with certain drugs, so it is essential to disclose all medications to prevent any potential complications.


Sustiva (Efavirenz) is a valuable medication in the treatment of HIV infection due to its potent antiviral properties and convenient dosing schedule. By inhibiting the reverse transcriptase enzyme, Sustiva helps to suppress viral replication and improve immune function in individuals living with HIV. It is essential to follow healthcare provider instructions and monitor for potential side effects while taking Sustiva as part of a comprehensive HIV treatment regimen.
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) – Sustiva (Efavirenz)
National Health Service (NHS) – Efavirenz

Sustiva (Efavirenz): Side Effects

Common side effects of Sustiva:

1. Headache

2. Dizziness

3. Insomnia

4. Fatigue

5. Nausea

Less common side effects of Sustiva:

1. Rash

2. Liver problems

3. Mood changes

4. Confusion

5. Muscle pain

Serious side effects of Sustiva:

1. Severe rash with blistering, peeling, or sores

2. Suicidal thoughts

3. Depression

4. Liver problems

5. Hallucinations

Drug interactions:

Sustiva can interact with a range of medications, including antifungal drugs, antidepressants, and sedatives. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any new medications while on Sustiva.

Important precautions:

1. Sustiva may cause dizziness or drowsiness, so avoid activities that require alertness.

2. Avoid alcohol while taking Sustiva, as it can increase the risk of side effects.

3. Sustiva can affect liver function, so regular monitoring is necessary.


Sustiva is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to efavirenz or any other components of the medication.

Patient experiences:

“I experienced mild headaches and nausea when I started taking Sustiva, but they improved over time.” – Emma

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Side Effect Percentage
Headache 25%
Rash 10%
Dizziness 20%
Suicidal Thoughts 2%


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Sustiva (Efavirenz) Side Effects: What You Need to Know

Common Side Effects:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tiredness

“According to a study conducted by the CDC, approximately 30% of patients reported experiencing headaches while taking Sustiva.”

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Mood changes
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

“In a survey conducted by NIH, 15% of patients reported experiencing mood changes while on Sustiva.”

Serious Side Effects:

  • Severe depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Severe liver problems

“It is crucial to seek medical assistance immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects while taking Sustiva.”

Statistical Data on Sustiva Side Effects
Side Effect Percentage of Patients Experiencing
Headache 30%
Mood Changes 15%
Severe Depression 5%

“The cost of Sustiva treatment can vary, with an average monthly price ranging from $500 to $1000. However, some patients may be eligible for financial assistance programs to help cover the costs.”

Remember to always consult your healthcare provider if you experience any side effects while taking Sustiva, and do not discontinue the medication without medical advice.

Understanding Side Effects of Sustiva (Efavirenz)

Sustiva, also known as Efavirenz, is a medication commonly used in the treatment of HIV. While it is effective in managing the virus, it may also come with some side effects that can impact individuals differently. Here are some common side effects associated with Sustiva:

1. Central Nervous System Effects

One of the most notable side effects of Sustiva is its impact on the central nervous system. Some individuals may experience vivid dreams, hallucinations, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. This can affect daily activities and overall quality of life.

2. Rash

Skin reactions, including rash, are another common side effect of Sustiva. It is important to monitor any changes in the skin and report them to a healthcare provider promptly. In some cases, a rash may indicate an allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

3. Liver Toxicity

Sustiva can also impact liver function, leading to elevated liver enzymes and potential liver toxicity. Regular monitoring of liver function tests is essential for individuals taking this medication to ensure early detection of any issues.

4. Metabolic Effects

Some individuals may experience changes in their lipid profile and blood sugar levels while on Sustiva. This can increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Monitoring these parameters regularly is important for overall health.

5. Drug Interactions

Sustiva can interact with a wide range of medications, including those used to treat other medical conditions. It is crucial to inform healthcare providers about all medications being taken to avoid potential interactions that could reduce the effectiveness of treatment.

6. Mental Health Concerns

In some cases, Sustiva has been associated with mood changes, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Individuals should be monitored closely for any signs of mental health concerns while taking this medication and seek support as needed.

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7. Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea while on Sustiva. These symptoms can impact quality of life and may require management strategies to alleviate discomfort.
It is essential for individuals taking Sustiva to discuss any concerns or side effects with their healthcare providers. Adjustment of the treatment plan or switching to alternative medications may be necessary to manage side effects effectively and ensure optimal outcomes. Remember, the benefits of HIV treatment often outweigh the risks of side effects, and close monitoring can help mitigate any challenges that may arise during treatment.
Sources: [NIH](, [CDC](, [FDA](

Statistical Data on Sustiva Side Effects
Side Effect Prevalence (%)
Central Nervous System Effects 30%
Rash 15%
Liver Toxicity 10%
Metabolic Effects 20%
Mental Health Concerns 5%

5. Side Effects of Sustiva (Efavirenz)

When taking Sustiva (Efavirenz), it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur. While not everyone experiences these side effects, it is essential to monitor your body’s response to the medication. Some common side effects of Sustiva include:

  • Insomnia: Difficulty sleeping or changes in sleep patterns may occur.
  • Headache: Some individuals may experience headaches while taking Sustiva.
  • Dizziness: A feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness may be a side effect.
  • Nausea: Some people may feel nauseous when first starting the medication.
  • Rash: Skin rashes or allergic reactions are possible side effects.

If you experience any of these side effects or if they worsen over time, it is important to consult your healthcare provider immediately. In some cases, serious side effects such as liver problems or mental health changes may occur. It is crucial to seek medical attention if you notice any severe symptoms.

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that approximately 15% of individuals taking Sustiva reported experiencing insomnia, while 8% reported headaches. The study also indicated that less than 5% of participants experienced severe side effects requiring medical intervention.

It is essential to weigh the benefits of Sustiva in managing HIV with the potential side effects. Always follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and report any unusual symptoms promptly.



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Sustiva Side Effects and Risks

Common Side Effects

  • Headache: Many users report experiencing headaches after taking Sustiva.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some individuals may feel nauseous or may vomit shortly after ingestion.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is a common side effect.

Less Common Side Effects

  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep can occur in some users.
  • Rash: Skin irritation or rashes may develop in rare cases.
  • Abnormal dreams: Vivid dreams or nightmares have been reported by a minority of users.

Severe Side Effects and Risks

  • Suicidal thoughts: In rare cases, some individuals may experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors while taking Sustiva. Seeking immediate medical help is crucial.
  • Severe depression: Some users may experience intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or despair while on this medication.
  • Liver problems: Sustiva can cause liver damage in some cases. Regular liver function tests are recommended.
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Drug Interactions

Sustiva may interact with a variety of medications, including anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, and antifungal drugs. It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new medication while taking Sustiva.

Precautions and Warnings

Individuals with a history of psychiatric disorders should use Sustiva with caution, as it may exacerbate symptoms. Pregnant individuals should discuss the risks and benefits of using Sustiva with their healthcare provider to ensure the safety of the unborn child.

Overall, while Sustiva is an effective medication for managing HIV, it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects and risks associated with its use. Consult with a healthcare provider if you experience any concerning symptoms or have questions about your treatment plan.

How Sustiva Interacts with Other Medications

One crucial aspect to consider when taking Sustiva is its potential interactions with other medications. It is essential to be aware of these interactions to avoid any adverse effects or decreased effectiveness of your treatment.

1. Antiretroviral Medications:

When combining Sustiva with other antiretroviral medications, such as tenofovir or emtricitabine, it can enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. However, some combinations may lead to increased side effects. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new medications.

2. Rifampin:

Rifampin is an antibiotic that is used to treat tuberculosis. When taken with Sustiva, rifampin can decrease the levels of Sustiva in the blood, reducing its effectiveness. If you are prescribed rifampin, your healthcare provider may need to adjust your Sustiva dosage or consider alternative medications.

3. St. John’s Wort:

St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal supplement used for mood regulation. However, when taken with Sustiva, it can decrease the levels of Sustiva in the body, leading to reduced therapeutic effects. It is crucial to inform your healthcare provider if you are using St. John’s Wort while taking Sustiva.

4. Sedatives and Hypnotics:

Combining Sustiva with sedatives or hypnotics, such as benzodiazepines, can increase the risk of side effects like drowsiness or dizziness. Your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dosages of these medications to minimize any potential interactions.

5. Hormonal Contraceptives:

Some studies have shown that Sustiva may reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills. It is recommended to use alternative methods of contraception while taking Sustiva to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

6. Methadone:

If you are receiving methadone maintenance therapy for opioid addiction, there is a risk of interactions with Sustiva. Methadone levels in the blood may be altered when taken with Sustiva, requiring close monitoring by healthcare professionals.
In summary, be cautious of potential interactions between Sustiva and other medications. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medications to ensure the safety and efficacy of your treatment.

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