Before taking efavirenz,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to efavirenz any other medications, or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in efavirenz capsules or tablets. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
you should know that efavirenz is also available in combination with another medication with the brand name of Atripla. Tell your doctor if you are taking this medication to be sure you do not receive the same medication twice.
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: antidepressants, artemether and lumefantrine (Coartem), atazanavir (Reyataz), atorvastatin (Lipitor, in Caduet), atovaquone and proguanil, bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban, others, in Contrave), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Teril), clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), delavirdine (Rescriptor), diltiazem (Cardizem CD, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Taztia XT), ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate (Estarylla, Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Sprintec, others), etravirine (Intelence), etonogestrel (Implanon, Nexplanon, Nuvaring), felodipine, fosamprenavir (Lexiva), itraconazole (Sporanox), indinavir (Crixivan), levonorgestrel (Mirena, Plan B one step, Skyla, in Climera Pro, Seasonale, others), lopinavir (in Kaletra), maraviroc (Selzentry), medications for anxiety, medications for mental illness, medications for seizures, methadone (Dolophine, Methadose), nevirapine (Viramune), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Adalat, Afeditab, Procardia XL), norelgestromin (in Xulane), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), posaconazole (Noxafil), pravastatin (Pravachol), rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, Rifater), rilpivirine (Edurant, in Complera, Odefsey), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra, Technivie, Viekira), saquinavir (Invirase), sedatives, sertraline (Zoloft), simeprevir (Olysio), simvastatin (Zocor, in Vytorin), sirolimus (Rapamune), sleeping pills, tacrolimus (Envarsus XR, Prograf), tranquilizers, verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan, in Tarka), voriconazole (Vfend), and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with efavirenz, or may increase the risk that you will develop an irregular heartbeat, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John's wort.
You should know that efavirenz may decrease the effectiveness 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.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking efavirenz, call your doctor.
you should not breast-feed if you are infected with HIV or 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 while you are taking medications to treat HIV infection, your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight other infections that were already in your body or cause other conditions to occur. This may cause you to develop symptoms of those infections or conditions. If you have new or worsening symptoms during your treatment with efavirenz, be sure to tell your doctor.
you should know that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body such as your breasts and upper back, neck (''buffalo hump''), and around your stomach. You may notice a loss of body fat from your face, legs, and arms.
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), loss of touch with reality, or other strange thoughts. 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.