Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

New HIV Drug Leads the Pack


"Efavirenz in adults has surpassed the current standard of care with protease inhibitors by 50% and the current standard in children by 100%," Manion says. "Anyone who has responded through one year succeeded through the second year. There are basically no [treatment] failures through the second year."

Jeffrey Lennox, MD, agrees. "I've seen the study results presented," he tells WebMD. "I think people feel the study was well done." He and his colleagues already are using Sustiva as a first-line therapy for appropriate patients. "Generally, efavirenz is a good choice for most patients, but you have to individualize treatment based on their own needs and treatment history," says Lennox, who is the medical director of the Emory University infectious disease program at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital. "We've started quite a few of our children on efavirenz, and one of the main reasons is it comes in a liquid formulation that children find tolerable. [The protease inhibitor] ritonavir has a liquid formulation that's very potent, but you can't get kids to take it."

Starr noted that the pediatric study used Sustiva formulated in capsules, as the cake icing-flavored liquid formulation became available only after the study began. However, Starr said that preliminary results from a new study using the liquid show no difference in efficacy but a much lower incidence of rash, a side effect of the drug in 30% of the study children.

In addition to rash, which generally resolves after two weeks of continued dosing, Sustiva causes central nervous system (CNS) symptoms in more than half of patients. These symptoms can include dizziness, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, trouble concentrating, or vivid dreams and nightmares, but they usually resolve after two to four weeks. However, the drug is not recommended for psychotic patients, a few of whom have had very severe symptoms far different than the usual CNS effects. Also, women taking Sustiva must avoid pregnancy, as the drug causes birth defects in animals. The drug can be taken with or without food but not with a high-fat meal.

Vital Information:

  • Sustiva, in combination with other drugs, is a potent anti-HIV treatment.
  • The combination of Sustiva and Viracept (a protease inhibitor) works very well even in young children, and is easier to take than other anti-HIV drug combinations.
  • While less toxic than some HIV drugs for some people, Sustiva has side effects. It must never be taken by pregnant women or women who are planning on becoming pregnant.
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
HIV AIDS Screening
man opening condom wrapper
HIV AIDS Treatment
Discrimination Stigma
Treatment Side Effects
grilled chicken and vegetables
obese man standing on scale
cold sore