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Sustiva is an antiviral medication used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and prevent it from spreading in your body to become acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Efavirenz is a selective non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) that stops the spread of HIV cells. This action allows Sustiva to prevent the multiplication of HIV cells to treat the condition and prevent it from worsening into AIDS.

Dosage and Administration

The dose of Sustiva that is prescribed will vary depending on the individual being treated and the severity of their viral condition being treated. Follow all instructions offered by your healthcare provider and read packaging labels carefully to ensure the best therapeutic response during treatment. Do not change your dose without consulting your healthcare provider.

  • Swallow capsules whole
  • Take on an empty stomach before bed
  • If you cannot swallow pills, sprinkle capsule contents into soft food and ingest right away
  • Most adults take 600mg once daily
  • Take Sustiva with a protease inhibitor and/or another NRTI to treat HIV
  • If taken with voriconazole, the maintenance voriconazole dose should increase to 400mg every 12 hours while your Sustiva dose should decrease to 300mg once a day
  • If administered with rifampin to anyone weighing more than 50kg, increase the Sustiva dose to 800mg once daily
  • Children weighing more than 40kg should take 600mg once a day
  • Doses are determined by weight for children 3 months old and older
  • Store at room temperature away from children and pets

Side Effects

Sustiva may cause some side effects to develop while inhibiting the growth and spread of HIV cells. Speak with your healthcare provider to learn more about any symptoms that you may encounter during treatment.

Common Sustiva side effects:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dizziness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating
  • Rash
  • Headache, tiredness
  • Insomnia, strange dreams
  • Changes in the shape or location of body fat

Serious Side Effects

Some more serious adverse reactions may occur during treatment with Sustiva. Stop using this antiviral medication and contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Seizure
  • Hallucinations, trouble concentrating, difficulty speaking or moving
  • Nervous system problems (dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, strange dreams, insomnia, problems with speech, balance, or muscle movements)
  • Serious psychiatric symptoms (anxiety, paranoia, unusual behaviour, feeling sad or hopeless, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts)
  • Liver problems (nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-coloured stools, jaundice)

Sustiva affects your immune system which can lead to some side effects that could be serious weeks or months after you took the medication. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the following:

  • signs of an infection (fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss)
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with your balance or eye movement
  • Weakness or prickly feeling
  • Swelling in neck or throat
  • Changes in menstruation
  • impotence

Allergic Reactions

Do not take Sustiva if you are allergic to efavirenz or any of the capsule ingredients. If you notice signs of an allergic reaction, stop using this medication and call your healthcare provider.

Sustiva allergy symptoms may include:

  • Hives, red or purple skin rash
  • Fever, sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Burning eyes, skin pain
  • Blistering or peeling skin


Do not take Sustiva if you also take elbasvir or grazoprevir to treat hepatitis C because the drugs will interact.

Do not use Sustiva with medicines that combine efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider.

Sustiva has been reported to cause serious psychiatric reactions. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop any of the following symptoms: confusion, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, aggression, extreme fear, hallucinations, or unusual behaviour.

To ensure your safety when taking Sustiva, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had any of the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Seizure
  • Mental illness or psychosis
  • Heart disease

Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment with Sustiva. This medication can cause harm to your unborn baby. Use two forms of birth control during treatment and for at least 12 weeks after your last dose to prevent pregnancy.

Hormonal forms of contraception may be less effective during treatment with Sustiva. Use a barrier form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or AIDS because the virus can be passed through your breastmilk to your nursing child.

Sustiva is designed to help treat and prevent the progression of HIV, but it will not prevent you from spreading the disease to others. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes while you are infected.

Avoid driving or performing hazardous tasks that require you to be alert until you know how sustiva affects you because it can impair your reactions.

Avoid drinking alcohol during treatment with Sustiva because it can cause an increase in adverse effects.

Some drugs can interact with Sustiva and cause adverse reactions. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you take, including over the counter medicines, but especially any of the following:

  • Ergot derivative drugs
  • Benzodiazepine medications (midazolam, triazolam, and others)
  • Medications used to treat Hepatitis C (elbasvir, grazoprevir, and more)
  • Pimozide
  • St. John’s wort
  • Ergot migraine medications (dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, and others)
  • Asthma medications
  • Heart medicines
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Antidepressants or antipsychotics
  • Other antiviral medications

Do not administer Sustiva to any child under the age of 3 months.

Form and Strength

This antiviral medication is available in capsule form.

Sustiva capsule strength:

  • 600mg

The 600mg Sustiva capsules are available in quantities of 30 and 90.


Should Sustiva be taken with or without food?

It is recommended that you take your dose of Sustiva on an empty stomach to avoid adverse reactions. When taken with food, concentrations of the medication in your system increase which can lead to a higher frequency of side effects. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you take your daily dose before bed to improve your tolerability of nervous system reactions that may occur.

What is the dosing for Sustiva?

Sustiva doses will vary depending on the individual being treated, but most adults take 600mg once daily. Children’s doses are prescribed based on weight, follow all directions offered by your healthcare provider to ensure the best therapeutic results. Doses may need to increase or decrease depending on the antiviral medications with which Sustiva is co-administered.



Additional information

Brand Name:


Scientific Name:


Other Names:

Efavir, Sustiva


200mg, 600mg

Quantities Available:

30, 90


Capsule, Tablet