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- What is efavirenz, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for efavirenz?
- Is efavirenz available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for efavirenz?
- What are the side effects of efavirenz?
- What is the dosage for efavirenz?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with efavirenz?
- Is efavirenz safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about efavirenz?
What is efavirenz, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Efavirenz is an oral medication that is used for the treatment of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Efavirenz is in a class of drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors which also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), didanosine (Videx), and lamivudine (Epivir). It is in a subclass of reverse transcriptase inhibitors referred to as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors that includes nevirapine (Viramune), and delavirdine (Rescriptor). During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. The newly-formed viruses then are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, the infection continually spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new viruses, the HIV virus must manufacture new DNA for each virus. Reverse transcriptase is the enzyme that the virus uses to form new DNA. Efavirenz directly inhibits the activity of reverse transcriptase and blocks the production of DNA and new viruses. Efavirenz does not kill existing HIV virus and it is not a cure for HIV. Efavirenz was approved by the FDA in 1998.
What brand names are available for efavirenz?
Is efavirenz available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: No
Do I need a prescription for efavirenz?
What are the side effects of efavirenz?
The most common side effects of efavirenz are:
Other side effects include
- muscle pain (myalgia),
- abnormal heartbeats,
- liver failure,
- increased cholesterol
- increased triglyceride levels.
- abnormal dreams,
- hallucinations, and
- difficulty concentrating.
Serious psychiatric adverse effects such as depression, suicidal thoughts, manic reactions, and aggressive behavior have been reported in patients taking efavirenz. Immune reconstitution syndrome which is an inflammatory response to infection may occur in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy.
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