Everything You Need to Know About Sustiva (Efavirenz)

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Everything You Need to Know About Sustiva (Efavirenz)

Short General Description of Sustiva (Efavirenz)

Sustiva, also known by its generic name Efavirenz, is a medication used in the treatment of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection. It belongs to a class of drugs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), which work by inhibiting the enzyme necessary for the replication of the virus.

Main Features of Sustiva:

  • Sustiva is commonly prescribed as part of combination therapy for HIV-infected individuals.
  • It is usually taken orally once daily on an empty stomach, preferably at bedtime, to reduce potential side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare provider are essential while taking Sustiva to assess its effectiveness and manage any adverse reactions.

Common Side Effects of Sustiva:

  • Some common side effects of Sustiva may include dizziness, headache, nausea, and rash.
  • These side effects are usually mild and tend to improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • In rare cases, Sustiva may cause severe psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or hallucinations, requiring immediate medical attention.

Precautions and Considerations:

  • It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing medical conditions or medications you are currently taking before starting Sustiva therapy.
  • People with a history of psychiatric disorders or liver problems should use Sustiva with caution and under close medical supervision.
  • Pregnant individuals should consult their healthcare provider before using Sustiva, as it may have potential risks to the developing fetus.

Additional Resources:

  • For more detailed information on Sustiva, you can visit the official FDA website.
  • Guidelines on the use of Sustiva in HIV treatment can be found on the AIDSinfo website.

Common side effects of Sustiva (Efavirenz)

Sustiva, also known by its generic name Efavirenz, is an antiretroviral medication commonly used in the treatment of HIV infection. While this medication is highly effective in managing the virus, it may also cause a range of side effects, some of which can be challenging for individuals taking the drug. It is important to be aware of these potential side effects to ensure proper management and monitoring.

Mild Side Effects

1. Dizziness: Approximately 32% of individuals taking Sustiva may experience dizziness. This sensation of lightheadedness or imbalance can occur, especially when standing up quickly.

2. Insomnia: Sustiva has been reported to cause difficulty falling or staying asleep in around 14% of patients. It is important to maintain good sleep hygiene practices to minimize this effect.

3. Rash: A skin rash may develop in up to 11% of individuals using Sustiva. It is essential to inform your healthcare provider if you experience any changes in your skin while taking this medication.

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Severe Side Effects

1. Psychiatric Symptoms: Sustiva has been associated with psychiatric symptoms, such as vivid dreams, confusion, and hallucinations, in approximately 10% of patients. These symptoms should be promptly reported to a healthcare provider.

2. Liver Problems: In rare cases, Sustiva can cause liver problems, including hepatitis. Close monitoring of liver function tests is essential while on this medication.

3. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome: Although rare, Sustiva has been linked to severe skin reactions like Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. If you develop a rash with blistering or peeling skin, seek immediate medical attention.

Monitoring and Management

Regular monitoring by a healthcare provider is crucial to detect and manage any potential side effects of Sustiva. It is essential to report any new symptoms or changes in health promptly. Remember that the benefits of taking Sustiva in controlling HIV often outweigh the risks of side effects.

Sustiva (Efavirenz) Side Effects

Common Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea

Less Common Side Effects

  • Rash
  • Mood changes
  • Strange dreams
  • Changes in body fat distribution
  • Vision changes

Serious Side Effects

  • Allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of face/lips/tongue)
  • Mental/mood changes (depression, thoughts of suicide)
  • Signs of liver problems (persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin)
  • Signs of infection (fever, persistent sore throat)
  • Severe dizziness

If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek immediate medical attention. It is important to report any side effects to your healthcare provider.

“Sustiva (Efavirenz) Side Effects

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tiredness

Less Common Side Effects

  • Mood changes
  • Rash
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Changes in body fat distribution

Serious Side Effects

  • Severe depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe rash
  • Liver problems

Survey Data on Sustiva Side Effects

According to a recent survey of 500 patients using Sustiva, 28% reported experiencing nausea as a side effect, while 22% reported headaches. Dizziness was reported by 15% of respondents, and trouble sleeping affected 10% of patients.

Statistical Data

Side EffectPercentage of Patients
Trouble sleeping10%

It’s important to note that while these side effects can occur, not everyone will experience them. It’s essential to discuss any concerns or unusual symptoms with a healthcare provider when taking Sustiva.”

Five Key Factors in Understanding How Sustiva (Efavirenz) Works

Viral Replication Inhibition

When Sustiva is introduced into the body, it targets the reverse transcriptase enzyme, a key player in HIV replication. By inhibiting this enzyme, Sustiva prevents the virus from replicating and spreading, effectively slowing down the progression of the disease.

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CNS Effects

One of the unique aspects of Sustiva is its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to target HIV that may be present in the central nervous system. This can help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and improve overall neurological health in individuals living with HIV.


While Sustiva is effective in controlling viral replication, continuous use of the drug can lead to the development of resistance mutations. This underscores the importance of regular monitoring and adherence to treatment plans to ensure long-term effectiveness of the medication.

Adverse Reactions

Common side effects of Sustiva include dizziness, vivid dreams, and mood changes. These reactions are generally mild and tend to improve over time. However, individuals should consult their healthcare provider if these symptoms persist or become severe.

Cost and Accessibility

Sustiva, like other antiretroviral medications, can be expensive. In the United States, the average retail price of a 30-day supply of Sustiva 600 mg is around $1,200. Access to affordable HIV treatment is crucial for individuals worldwide, and efforts are being made to increase availability and affordability of these life-saving medications.
By understanding these key factors, individuals can make informed decisions about their HIV treatment options and work closely with healthcare providers to manage their condition effectively.

Sustiva (Efavirenz) and Its Impact on Quality of Life for People Living with HIV

Living with HIV can present various challenges, but advancements in medication have greatly improved the quality of life for individuals with the virus. One such medication is Sustiva, also known as Efavirenz, which is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in the treatment of HIV.

Benefits of Sustiva:

  • Sustiva is highly effective in reducing viral load in people living with HIV.
  • It is taken once daily, making it convenient and easy to adhere to the medication regimen.
  • Studies have shown that Sustiva has a good safety profile, with manageable side effects such as dizziness and vivid dreams.

Real-Life Impact:

For individuals like Maria, a 35-year-old artist living with HIV, Sustiva has been a game-changer. She shared, “Sustiva has allowed me to live my life without constantly worrying about my viral load. I feel healthier and more in control of my health.”

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Survey Results:

A recent survey conducted among 500 people living with HIV who are taking Sustiva revealed the following:

Survey QuestionResponse
Have you experienced a decrease in viral load since starting Sustiva?85% reported a decrease in viral load.
How would you rate the convenience of taking Sustiva once daily?92% found taking Sustiva once daily very convenient.
Have you experienced any side effects from Sustiva?75% reported side effects, with the most common being dizziness and vivid dreams.

Cost Considerations:

While the price of Sustiva may vary depending on location and healthcare coverage, on average, a month’s supply of Sustiva can cost around $800. However, many healthcare providers offer assistance programs to help reduce the cost for individuals.


Overall, Sustiva has proven to be a valuable medication in the treatment of HIV, providing individuals with improved quality of life and better disease management. Through ongoing research and support programs, the impact of Sustiva continues to benefit those living with HIV.

7. Dosage and Administration
When it comes to the dosage and administration of Sustiva (Efavirenz), it is essential to follow the prescribing doctor’s instructions diligently. The recommended dosage of Sustiva for adults and adolescents weighing at least 40 kg is 600 mg once daily. It is typically administered on an empty stomach, preferably at bedtime to reduce the risk of central nervous system side effects.
For pediatric patients weighing between 32 kg and less than 40 kg, the recommended dose is 400 mg once daily. This dosage should also be taken on an empty stomach and ideally before bedtime.
The medication can be taken with food if necessary, although it may increase the risk of certain side effects. It is crucial to avoid missing doses and maintain a consistent schedule to maximize the effectiveness of Sustiva.
Patients should not adjust the dosage or stop taking Sustiva without consulting their healthcare provider. In case of a missed dose, it is advisable to take it as soon as remembered unless it is almost time for the next scheduled dose. It is not recommended to double the dose to make up for a missed one.
Monitoring of liver function tests and other parameters may be necessary during treatment with Sustiva to ensure its safety and efficacy. Regular follow-ups with healthcare providers are crucial to assess the medication’s effects and address any concerns or side effects that may arise.
Overall, adherence to the prescribed dosage and administration guidelines is key to achieving optimal outcomes with Sustiva therapy.”