2011502297 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Efavirenz

    (e fa veer' ens)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Efavirenz is used with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in patients with or without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Efavirenz is in a class of medications called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). It works by slowing the spread of HIV in the body. Efavirenz does not cure HIV infection and may not prevent you from developing HIV-related illnesses. Efavirenz does not prevent you from spreading HIV to other people.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Efavirenz comes as a capsule and as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with plenty of water on an empty stomach. Take efavirenz at around the same time every day. Taking efavirenz at bedtime may make side effects less bothersome. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take efavirenz exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Efavirenz controls HIV infection, but does not cure it. Continue to take efavirenz even if you feel well. Do not stop taking efavirenz without talking to your doctor. When your supply of efavirenz starts to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist. If you miss doses or stop taking efavirenz, your condition may become more difficult to treat.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    Efavirenz is also used with another medication to help prevent infection in healthcare workers or other people who were accidentally exposed to HIV. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking efavirenz,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to efavirenz or any other medications.
    • do not take astemizole (Hismanal) (no longer available in the US); cisapride (Propulsid) (no longer available in the US); ergot-type medications such as bromocriptine (Parlodel), cabergoline (Dostinex), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergoloid mesylates (Germinal, Hydergine), ergonovine (Ergotrate), ergotamine (Bellergal-S, Cafergot, Ergomar, Wigraine), methylergonovine (Methergine), methysergide (Sansert), and pergolide (Permax); midazolam (Versed); triazolam (Halcion); or voriconazole (Vfend) while taking efavirenz.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: acetaminophen (Tylenol, others); anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antidepressants; antifungals such as itraconazole (Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral); calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others), felodipine (Lexxel, Plendil), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nisoldipine (Sular), and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan); chlorpheniramine in over-the-counter cold products; cholesterol-lowering medications (statins); cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin, Prevpac); danazol (Danocrine); dexamethasone (Decadron); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); iron products; isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid); medications for anxiety, mental illness, or pain; medications for HIV or AIDS such as amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz); indinavir (Crixivan), lopinavir (in Kaletra), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra) and saquinavir ( Invirase); medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); methotrexate (Rheumatrex); methadone (Dolophine); metronidazole (Flagyl); niacin (nicotinic acid); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn), and piroxicam (Feldene); oral medications for diabetes such as glipizide (Glucotrol, Metaglip) and tolbutamide (Orinase); proton pump inhibitors such as lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), and pantoprazole (Protonix); quinidine (Quinidex); quinine; rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); sedatives; sertraline (Zoloft); sildenafil (Viagra); sleeping pills; sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra); tamoxifen (Nolvadex); torsemide (Demadex); tranquilizers; troleandomycin (TAO); or zafirlukast (Accolate). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
    • tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially products that contain kava or St. John's wort.
    • tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol; if you use or have ever used street drugs or have overused prescription medications; or if you have or have ever had seizures; high cholesterol; depression or other mental illness; or heart, liver,or pancreas disease.
    • you should not become pregnant while taking efavirenz. You will have to have a negative pregnancy test before you begin taking this medication and use effective birth control during your treatment. Efavirenz may interfere with the action of hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, implants, or injections, so you should not use these as your only method of birth control during your treatment. You must use a barrier method of birth control (device that blocks sperm from entering the uterus such as a condom or a diaphragm) along with any other method of birth control you have chosen. Ask your doctor to help you choose a method of birth control that will work for you. If you become pregnant while taking efavirenz, call your doctor. Efavirenz may harm the fetus.
    • you should not breast-feed if you are infected with HIV or are taking efavirenz.
    • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking efavirenz.
    • you should know that efavirenz may make you drowsy, dizzy, or unable to concentrate. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
    • ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking efavirenz. Alcohol can make the side effects from efavirenz worse.
    • you should know that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body such as your breasts and upper back.
    • you should know that efavirenz may cause changes in your thoughts, behavior, or mental health. Call your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms while you are taking efavirenz: depression, thinking about killing yourself or planning or trying to do so, angry or aggressive behavior, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), or loss of touch with reality. Be sure your family knows which symptoms may be serious so that they can call your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Efavirenz may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • upset stomach
    • vomiting
    • stomach pain
    • diarrhea
    • indigestion
    • drowsiness
    • dizziness
    • headache
    • difficulty concentrating
    • confusion
    • forgetfulness
    • nervousness
    • strange thoughts
    • abnormally happy mood
    • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • unusual dreams
    • pain
    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those mentioned in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
    • sore throat, cough, fever, chills, or other signs of infection
    • rash
    • itching
    • blisters or sores on skin
    • peeling skin
    • fainting
    • extreme tiredness
    • lack of energy
    • loss of appetite
    • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
    • unusual bleeding or bruising
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    • flu-like symptoms
    • seizures
    Efavirenz may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
    Symptoms of overdose may include:
    • movements of your body that you cannot control
    • dizziness
    • headache
    • difficulty concentrating
    • nervousness
    • confusion
    • forgetfulness
    • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • unusual dreams
    • drowsiness
    • hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
    • abnormally happy mood
    • strange thoughts

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to efavirenz.
    Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking efavirenz.
    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Sustiva®
    • Atripla® (as a combination product containing Efavirenz, Emtricitabine, Tenofovir)

    Tenofovir

    (te noe' fo veer)

    IMPORTANT WARNING:

    Tenofovir, when used alone or in combination with other antiviral medications, may cause serious damage to the liver and a condition called lactic acidosis. Tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol and if you have or have ever had liver disease.
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: upset stomach, loss of appetite, excessive tiredness, weakness, dark yellow or brown urine, unusual bleeding or bruising, flu-like symptoms, yellowing of the skin or eyes, and pain in the upper right part of your stomach.
    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to tenofovir.

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Tenofovir is used in combination with other antiviral medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Tenofovir is in a class of antiviral medications called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. It works by slowing the spread of HIV in the body. Tenofovir is not a cure and may not decrease the number of HIV-related illnesses. Tenofovir does not prevent the spread of HIV to other people.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Tenofovir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with a meal. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tenofovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Continue to take tenofovir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking tenofovir without talking to your doctor.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking tenofovir,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tenofovir or any other medications.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: antiviral medications such as acyclovir (Zovirax), cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir (Cytovene, Vitasert), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and valganciclovir (Valcyte); aspirin and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as indomethacin (Indocin); didanosine (Videx); diuretics ('water pills'); penicillin (Pen Vee K, Veetids, others); and probenecid (Benemid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
    • if you are taking didanosine (Videx), take it 1 hour before or 2 hours after tenofovir.
    • in addition to the condition listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking tenofovir, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed while taking tenofovir.
    • you should be aware that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body, such as your breasts and your upper back.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Tenofovir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • upset stomach
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • gas
    • loss of appetite
    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately.
    Tenofovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Viread®
    • Atripla® (as a combination product containing Efavirenz, Emtricitabine, Tenofovir)
    • Truvada® (as a combination product containing Emtricitabine, Tenofovir)

    Emtricitabine

    (em tri sit' uh bean)

    IMPORTANT WARNING:

    Medications that are similar to emtricitabine have caused serious damage to the liver and a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood) when they were used alone or in combination with other medications that treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: upset stomach; vomiting; stomach pain; loss of appetite; extreme tiredness; weakness; dizziness; lightheadedness; fast or irregular heartbeat; trouble breathing; dark yellow or brown urine; light-colored bowel movements; yellowing of the skin or eyes; feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs; or muscle pain that is different than any muscle pain you usually experience.
    Emtricitabine should not be used to treat hepatitis B virus infection (HBV; an ongoing liver infection). Tell your doctor if you have or think you may have HBV. Your doctor may test you to see if you have HBV before you begin your treatment with emtricitabine. If you have HBV and you take emtricitabine, your condition may suddenly worsen when you stop taking emtricitabine. Your doctor will examine you and order lab tests regularly for several months after you stop taking emtricitabine to see if your HBV has worsened.
    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain tests to check your body's response to emtricitabine. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking emtricitabine.

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Emtricitabine is used with other medications to treat HIV infection in patients with or without AIDS. Emtricitabine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). This medication works by slowing the spread of HIV in the body. Emtricitabine does not cure HIV infection and may not prevent you from developing HIV-related illnesses. Emtricitabine does not prevent you from spreading HIV to other people.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Emtricitabine comes as a capsule, a tablet, and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take emtricitabine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take emtricitabine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Emtricitabine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take emtricitabine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking emtricitabine without talking to your doctor. When your supply of emtricitabine starts to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist. If you miss doses or stop taking emtricitabine, your condition may become more difficult to treat.
    Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking emtricitabine,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to emtricitabine or any other medications.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you more carefully for side effects.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had the conditions mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, any type of infection that does not go away or that comes and goes such as tuberculosis (TB; a type of lung infection) or cytomegalovirus (CMV; a viral infection that may cause symptoms in patients with weak immune systems) or kidney disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking emtricitabine, call your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You should not breast-feed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking emtricitabine.
    • you should know that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body such as your breasts and upper back.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take more than one dose of emtricitabine in one day and do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Emtricitabine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • headache
    • diarrhea
    • change in skin color, especially on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet
    • indigestion
    • joint pain
    • unusual dreams
    • depression
    • trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
    • numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
    • runny nose
    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
    • fever, chills, sore throat, cough, or other signs of infection
    • rash
    Emtricitabine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the capsules at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Store the solution in the refrigerator, but do not freeze it. If you prefer not to refrigerate the solution, you may store it at room temperature for up to 3 months. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed, and any unused solution that has not been refrigerated after 3 months. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Emtriva®
    • Atripla® (as a combination product containing Efavirenz, Emtricitabine, Tenofovir)
    • Truvada® (as a combination product containing Emtricitabine, Tenofovir)
  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.