Without a Prescription
Efavirenz capsules, tablets and oral solution contain the active ingredient efavirenz, which is a type of drug called a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. It is prescribed in the treatment of HIV infection.
Efavirenz is prescribed for the treatment of HIV infection.
Efavirenz is one of the growing number of drugs prescribed to fight HIV infection. HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, weakens the immune system until it can no longer fight off infections, leading to the fatal disease known as AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
AIDS is caused by infection with HIV. This virus invades cells of the immune system, particularly the white blood cells known as CD4 T-helper lymphocytes. These cells normally work to activate other cells in the immune system to fight infection. Since HIV kills CD4 T-helper cells, over time the body becomes less able to fight the virus or subsequent infections.
Like other drugs for HIV, Efavirenz works by impairing the virus's ability to multiply. However, when taken alone it may prompt the virus to become resistant. Efavirenz is therefore always taken with at least one other HIV medication, such as Retrovir or Crixivan. Even when prescribed properly, it may remain effective for only a limited time.
Once the virus is inside the CD4 T-cell it multiplies. Part of the process of viral multiplication involves the conversion of the virus genetic material, RNA, into DNA. This is achieved by a compound essential to the virus, called reverse transcriptase. Reverse transcriptase is a compound known as an enzyme. Efavirenz works by blocking the action of this enzyme, thereby interfering with the conversion of viral RNA into DNA. This stops the virus from multiplying.
There is no cure for HIV, but efavirenz is one of a number of drugs that lowers the amount of virus in the body and slows the progression of the disease from HIV to AIDS. Efavirenz is prescribed in combination with other anti-HIV drugs that attack the HIV virus in different ways. This minimises the virus's ability to replicate and multiply, and helps prevent it becoming resistant to treatment.
Efavirenz side effects that you should report to your health care professional or doctor as soon as possible:
- Abnormal dreaming;
- Abnormal dreams;
- Abnormal thinking;
- Blurred vision;
- Concentration difficulties;
- Difficulty in sleeping;
- Disturbances of the gut such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain;
- Feelings of well-being;
- Impaired concentration;
- Increased blood cholesterol level;
- Liver disorders;
- Loss of identity;
- Problems with coordination;
- Severe blistering skin reaction affecting the tissues of the eyes, mouth, throat and genitals;
- Skin rash;
- Suicidal feelings;
Children weighing more than 88 pounds receive the 600-mg adult dose.
For children 3 years of age and older, weighing between 22 and 88 pounds, the recommended dose is based upon weight.
The recommended dose is 600 mg once a day, in combination with other HIV medications.