Side Effects of Efavirenz
Pain, diarrhea, and nausea are some of the most commonly reported side effects of efavirenz. In most cases, these side effects are mild and don't require medical attention, but some problems may be more serious and should be reported to a healthcare provider right away. Notify your healthcare provider if you experience such efavirenz side effects as frequent infections, anxiety, seizures, or depression.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with efavirenz (Sustiva®); however, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with efavirenz. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of efavirenz side effects with you.)
Some side effects with efavirenz, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
- Frequent infections, which may be a sign of low neutrophil levels in the blood (known medically as neutropenia)
- High triglycerides or high cholesterol
- Changes in the distribution of fat on your body (such as a "buffalo hump")
- Depression (see Sustiva and Depression)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Aggressive behavior.
Efavirenz and Allergic Reactions
Efavirenz can cause very serious (sometimes life-threatening) allergic reactions, particularly dangerous skin rashes. While harmless skin rashes are quite common with efavirenz, any rash that involves blisters, loss of skin, fever, or sores in the mouth should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately. These rashes can become quite dangerous, causing severe infections or loss of significant portions of the skin.