Generic Name(s): Efavirenz
Drug Class: HIV Medication
Sustiva is a medicine used in the treatment of HIV, specifically the HIV type-1 variety. The active ingredient of the medicine is a drug called efavirenz. It works by inhibiting an enzyme called reverse transcriptase, an enzyme needed to transcribe viral RNA into DNA. Sustiva is usually taken in combination with other drugs, such as tenofovir and emtricitabine. Psychiatric side-effects are common with this drug.
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Sustiva is currently only indicated for use in the treatment of HIV type-1. It is worth noting that Sustiva is not used to cure HIV but, instead, is used to treat the symptoms and progression of the condition. By reducing the rate at which viral RNA is converted into DNA, it slows the rate, and consequent viral load of HIV, inside the body. Sustiva is, in addition, usually taken with other HIV medication, such as tenofovir and emtricitabine. Indeed, medications now exist, such as Atripla, where one tablet encompasses all three drugs.
It's worth noting that the following Sustiva doses are not fixed and, instead, depend on the nature of the complaint, its severity, and whether the patient has any complicating factors such as disease or co-administration of other interacting drugs. However, the following values are considered the typical dose for Sustiva all else being equal.
- Adult Dose: 600 mg taken once daily. This drug is, however, usually taken alongside other HIV medication, particularly protease inhibitors. It is recommended that the dose is taken on an empty stomach and at bedtime.
Sustiva Side Effects
Many side effects with Sustiva do not warrant medical attention as the drug becomes accustomed to your body. However, if you are concerned or experience any undesirable or severe symptoms, you should discontinue the medicine and seek professional advice. The list of potential side effects below highlights some of the most common effects and is, therefore, not an exhaustive list.
- Difficulty sleeping
- Skin Rash
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following:
- Painful urination
- Suicidal ideation
- Psychiatric episodes
- Lower back pain
- Elevated heart rate
- Weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
Patients taking Sustiva should note the time this medication is taken. If the drug is taken on a full stomach, it may increase the risk of side-effects. Patients are also advised not to consume alcohol while taking Sustiva as the drug interaction will also worsen the side-effect profile. This drug interaction also elevates the risk of liver damage and disease. The list of drug interactions below is not an exhaustive list. Drugs that interact with Sustiva include: