AIDS Home > Sustiva

Sustiva is an HIV and AIDS medication that is available by prescription. Although it is not a cure, the drug can help prevent the virus from multiplying and affecting uninfected cells in the body. The medication comes in tablet and capsule forms and is generally taken once a day. Most people tolerate the medicine well, but side effects can include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and pain.

What Is Sustiva?

Sustiva® (efavirenz) is a prescription medicine used as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. It is approved for use only in combination with other HIV medications.
 
(Click Sustiva Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes It?

Sustiva is made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
 

How Does Sustiva Work?

Sustiva belongs to a group of HIV medications known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). These medicines work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.
 
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. Like other viruses, it must use a person's own cells to reproduce. However, HIV is a little different from other viruses because it must first convert its genetic material from RNA to DNA. It is the DNA genes that allow HIV to multiply.
 
HIV converts its genetic material by using a special protein called the reverse transcriptase enzyme. To create DNA, this enzyme uses several different molecular building-blocks.
 
Sustiva works by attaching to the reverse transcriptase enzyme, stopping it from making DNA. Without DNA, HIV cannot multiply.
 
Sustiva is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. It can help stop HIV from infecting healthy cells in the body, but it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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