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Efavirenz is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that is FDA approved for the treatment of HIV-1 in adults and children at least 3 months old and weighing at least 3.5 kg. Common adverse reactions include impaired concentration, abnormal dreams, rash, dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, insomnia and vomiting.
Adult Indications and Dosage
FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Adult)
- The recommended dosage of Efavirenz is 600 mg orally, once daily, in combination with a protease inhibitor and/or nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It is recommended that Efavirenz be taken on an empty stomach, preferably at bedtime. The increased efavirenz concentrations observed following administration of Efavirenz with food may lead to an increase in frequency of adverse reactions. Dosing at bedtime may improve the tolerability of nervous system symptoms. Efavirenz capsules or tablets should be swallowed intact with liquid. For patients who cannot swallow capsules or tablets, the capsule sprinkle method of administration is recommended.
- Efavirenz must be given in combination with other antiretroviral medications
- If Efavirenz is coadministered with voriconazole, the voriconazole maintenance dose should be increased to 400 mg every 12 hours and the Efavirenz dose should be decreased to 300 mg once daily using the capsule formulation (one 200 mg and two 50 mg capsules or six 50 mg capsules). Efavirenz tablets should not be broken.
- If Efavirenz is coadministered with rifampin to patients weighing 50 kg or more, an increase in the dose of Efavirenz to 800 mg once daily is recommended
Off-Label Use and Dosage (Adult)
There is limited information regarding Off-Label Guideline-Supported Use of Efavirenz in adult patients.
There is limited information regarding Off-Label Non–Guideline-Supported Use of Efavirenz in adult patients.
Pediatric Indications and Dosage
FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Pediatric)
- It is recommended that Efavirenz be taken on an empty stomach, preferably at bedtime. Table 1 describes the recommended dose of Efavirenz for pediatric patients 3 months of age or older and weighing between 3.5 kg and 40 kg. The recommended dosage of Efavirenz for pediatric patients weighing 40 kg or greater is 600 mg once daily. For pediatric patients who cannot swallow capsules, the capsule contents can be administered with a small amount of food or infant formula using the capsule sprinkle method of administration.
Capsule Sprinkle Method of Administration
- For pediatric patients at least 3 months old and weighing at least 3.5 kg and adults who cannot swallow capsules or tablets, the capsule contents may be administered with a small amount (1 to 2 teaspoons) of food. Use of infant formula for mixing should only be considered for those young infants who cannot reliably consume solid foods. Patients and caregivers must be instructed to open the capsule carefully to avoid spillage or dispersion of the capsule contents into the air. The capsule should be held horizontally over a small container and carefully twisted to open. For patients able to tolerate solid foods, the entire capsule contents should be gently mixed with an age-appropriate soft food, such as applesauce, grape jelly, or yogurt, in the small container. For young infants receiving the capsule sprinkle-infant formula mixture, the entire capsule contents should be gently mixed into 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of reconstituted room temperature infant formula in a medicine cup by carefully stirring with a small spoon, and then drawing up the mixture into a 10 mL oral dosing syringe for administration. After administration of the Efavirenz-food or -formula mixture, an additional small amount (approximately 2 teaspoons) of food or formula must be added to the empty mixing container, stirred to disperse any remaining Efavirenz residue, and administered to the patient. The Efavirenz-food or -formula mixture should be administered within 30 minutes of mixing. No additional food should be consumed for 2 hours after administration of Efavirenz.
- Further patient instructions on the capsule sprinkle method of administration are provided in the FDA-approved patient labeling (see Patient Information and Instructions for Use).
Off-Label Use and Dosage (Pediatric)
There is limited information regarding Off-Label Guideline-Supported Use of Efavirenz in pediatric patients.
There is limited information regarding Off-Label Non–Guideline-Supported Use of Efavirenz in pediatric patients.
- Efavirenz is contraindicated in patients with previously demonstrated clinically significant hypersensitivity (eg, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, or toxic skin eruptions) to any of the components of this product.
- Efavirenz plasma concentrations may be altered by substrates, inhibitors, or inducers of CYP3A. Likewise, efavirenz may alter plasma concentrations of drugs metabolized by CYP3A or CYP2B6. The most prominent effect of efavirenz at steady-state is induction of CYP3A and CYP2B6.
- Efavirenz must not be used as a single agent to treat HIV-1 infection or added on as a sole agent to a failing regimen. Resistant virus emerges rapidly when efavirenz is administered as monotherapy. The choice of new antiretroviral agents to be used in combination with efavirenz should take into consideration the potential for viral cross-resistance.
Coadministration with Related Products
- Coadministration of Efavirenz with ATRIPLA (efavirenz 600 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) is not recommended unless needed for dose adjustment (eg, with rifampin), since efavirenz is one of its active ingredients.
- Serious psychiatric adverse experiences have been reported in patients treated with Efavirenz In controlled trials of 1008 patients treated with regimens containing Efavirenz for a mean of 2.1 years and 635 patients treated with control regimens for a mean of 1.5 years, the frequency (regardless of causality) of specific serious psychiatric events among patients who received Efavirenz or control regimens, respectively, were severe depression (2.4%, 0.9%), suicidal ideation (0.7%, 0.3%), nonfatal suicide attempts (0.5%, 0), aggressive behavior (0.4%, 0.5%), paranoid reactions (0.4%, 0.3%), and manic reactions (0.2%, 0.3%). When psychiatric symptoms similar to those noted above were combined and evaluated as a group in a multifactorial analysis of data from Study 006, treatment with efavirenz was associated with an increase in the occurrence of these selected psychiatric symptoms. Other factors associated with an increase in the occurrence of these psychiatric symptoms were history of injection drug use, psychiatric history, and receipt of psychiatric medication at study entry; similar associations were observed in both the Efavirenz and control treatment groups. In Study 006, onset of new serious psychiatric symptoms occurred throughout the study for both Efavirenz-treated and control-treated patients. One percent of Efavirenz-treated patients discontinued or interrupted treatment because of one or more of these selected psychiatric symptoms. There have also been occasional postmarketing reports of death by suicide, delusions, and psychosis-like behavior, although a causal relationship to the use of Efavirenz cannot be determined from these reports. Patients with serious psychiatric adverse experiences should seek immediate medical evaluation to assess the possibility that the symptoms may be related to the use of Efavirenz, and if so, to determine whether the risks of continued therapy outweigh the benefits.
Nervous System Symptoms
- Fifty-three percent (531/1008) of patients receiving Efavirenz in controlled trials reported central nervous system symptoms (any grade, regardless of causality) compared to 25% (156/635) of patients receiving control regimens. These symptoms included, but were not limited to, dizziness (28.1% of the 1008 patients), insomnia (16.3%), impaired concentration (8.3%), somnolence (7.0%), abnormal dreams (6.2%), and hallucinations (1.2%). These symptoms were severe in 2.0% of patients, and 2.1% of patients discontinued therapy as a result. These symptoms usually begin during the first or second day of therapy and generally resolve after the first 2-4 weeks of therapy. After 4 weeks of therapy, the prevalence of nervous system symptoms of at least moderate severity ranged from 5% to 9% in patients treated with regimens containing Efavirenz and from 3% to 5% in patients treated with a control regimen. Patients should be informed that these common symptoms were likely to improve with continued therapy and were not predictive of subsequent onset of the less frequent psychiatric symptoms. Dosing at bedtime may improve the tolerability of these nervous system symptoms.
- Analysis of long-term data from Study 006 (median follow-up 180 weeks, 102 weeks, and 76 weeks for patients treated with Efavirenz + zidovudine + lamivudine, Efavirenz + indinavir, and indinavir + zidovudine + lamivudine, respectively) showed that, beyond 24 weeks of therapy, the incidences of new-onset nervous system symptoms among Efavirenz-treated patients were generally similar to those in the indinavir-containing control arm.
- Patients receiving Efavirenz should be alerted to the potential for additive central nervous system effects when Efavirenz is used concomitantly with alcohol or psychoactive drugs.
- Patients who experience central nervous system symptoms such as dizziness, impaired concentration, and/or drowsiness should avoid potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating machinery.
Reproductive Risk Potential
- Efavirenz may cause fetal harm when administered during the first trimester to a pregnant woman. Pregnancy should be avoided in women receiving Efavirenz. Barrier contraception must always be used in combination with other methods of contraception (eg, oral or other hormonal contraceptives). Because of the long half-life of efavirenz, use of adequate contraceptive measures for 12 weeks after discontinuation of Efavirenz is recommended. Women of childbearing potential should undergo pregnancy testing before initiation of Efavirenz. If this drug is used during the first trimester of pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential harm to the fetus. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Efavirenz should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, such as in pregnant women without other therapeutic options.
- In controlled clinical trials, 26% (266/1008) of adult patients treated with 600 mg Efavirenz experienced new-onset skin rash compared with 17% (111/635) of those treated in control groups. Rash associated with blistering, moist desquamation, or ulceration occurred in 0.9% (9/1008) of patients treated with Efavirenz. The incidence of Grade 4 rash (eg, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome) in adult patients treated with Efavirenz in all studies and expanded access was 0.1%. Rashes are usually mild-to-moderate maculopapular skin eruptions that occur within the first 2 weeks of initiating therapy with efavirenz (median time to onset of rash in adults was 11 days) and, in most patients continuing therapy with efavirenz, rash resolves within 1 month (median duration, 16 days). The discontinuation rate for rash in adult clinical trials was 1.7% (17/1008).
- Rash was reported in 59 of 182 pediatric patients (32%) treated with Efavirenz. Two pediatric patients experienced Grade 3 rash (confluent rash with fever, generalized rash), and four patients had Grade 4 rash (erythema multiforme). The median time to onset of rash in pediatric patients was 28 days (range 3-1642 days). Prophylaxis with appropriate antihistamines before initiating therapy with Efavirenz in pediatric patients should be considered.
- Efavirenz can be reinitiated in patients interrupting therapy because of rash. Efavirenz should be discontinued in patients developing severe rash associated with blistering, desquamation, mucosal involvement, or fever. Appropriate antihistamines and/or corticosteroids may improve the tolerability and hasten the resolution of rash. For patients who have had a life-threatening cutaneous reaction (eg, Stevens-Johnson syndrome), alternative therapy should be considered.
- Monitoring of liver enzymes before and during treatment is recommended for patients with underlying hepatic disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection; patients with marked transaminase elevations; and patients treated with other medications associated with liver toxicity. A few of the postmarketing reports of hepatic failure occurred in patients with no pre-existing hepatic disease or other identifiable risk factors. Liver enzyme monitoring should also be considered for patients without pre-existing hepatic dysfunction or other risk factors. In patients with persistent elevations of serum transaminases to greater than five times the upper limit of the normal range, the benefit of continued therapy with Efavirenz needs to be weighed against the unknown risks of significant liver toxicity.
- Convulsions have been observed in adult and pediatric patients receiving efavirenz, generally in the presence of known medical history of seizures. Caution must be taken in any patient with a history of seizures. Patients who are receiving concomitant anticonvulsant medications primarily metabolized by the liver, such as phenytoin and phenobarbital, may require periodic monitoring of plasma levels.
- Treatment with Efavirenz has resulted in increases in the concentration of total cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol and triglyceride testing should be performed before initiating Efavirenz therapy and at periodic intervals during therapy.
Immune Reconstitution Syndrome
- Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including Efavirenz During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections [such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), or tuberculosis], which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.
- Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves’ disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution; however, the time to onset is more variable, and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.
- Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, the adverse reaction rates reported cannot be directly compared to rates in other clinical studies and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
The most significant adverse reactions observed in patients treated with Efavirenz are:
- Psychiatric symptoms
- Nervous system symptoms
The most common (>5% in either efavirenz treatment group) adverse reactions of at least moderate severity among patients in Study 006 treated with Efavirenz in combination with zidovudine/lamivudine or indinavir were rash, dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, insomnia, and vomiting. Selected clinical adverse reactions of moderate or severe intensity observed in ≥2% of Efavirenz-treated patients in two controlled clinical trials are presented in Table 2.
- Pancreatitis has been reported, although a causal relationship with efavirenz has not been established. Asymptomatic increases in serum amylase levels were observed in a significantly higher number of patients treated with efavirenz 600 mg than in control patients.
Central Nervous System
- For 1008 patients treated with regimens containing Efavirenz and 635 patients treated with a control regimen in controlled trials, Table 3 lists the frequency of symptoms of different degrees of severity and gives the discontinuation rates for one or more of the following nervous system symptoms: dizziness, insomnia, impaired concentration, somnolence, abnormal dreaming, euphoria, confusion, agitation, amnesia, hallucinations, stupor, abnormal thinking and depersonalization. The frequencies of specific central and peripheral nervous system symptoms are provided in Table 2.
- Serious psychiatric adverse experiences have been reported in patients treated with Efavirenz In controlled trials, psychiatric symptoms observed at a frequency greater than 2% among patients treated with Efavirenz or control regimens, respectively, were depression (19%, 16%), anxiety (13%, 9%), and nervousness (7%, 2%).
- In controlled clinical trials, the frequency of rash (all grades, regardless of causality) was 26% for 1008 adults treated with regimens containing Efavirenz and 17% for 635 adults treated with a control regimen. Most reports of rash were mild or moderate in severity. The frequency of Grade 3 rash was 0.8% for Efavirenz-treated patients and 0.3% for control groups, and the frequency of Grade 4 rash was 0.1% for Efavirenz and 0 for control groups. The discontinuation rates as a result of rash were 1.7% for Efavirenz-treated patients and 0.3% for control groups.
- Experience with Efavirenz in patients who discontinued other antiretroviral agents of the NNRTI class is limited. Nineteen patients who discontinued nevirapine because of rash have been treated with Efavirenz Nine of these patients developed mild-to-moderate rash while receiving therapy with Efavirenz, and two of these patients discontinued because of rash.
- Selected Grade 3-4 laboratory abnormalities reported in ≥2% of Efavirenz-treated patients in two clinical trials are presented in Table 4.
Patients Coinfected with Hepatitis B or C
- Liver function tests should be monitored in patients with a history of hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C. In the long-term data set from Study 006, 137 patients treated with Efavirenz-containing regimens (median duration of therapy, 68 weeks) and 84 treated with a control regimen (median duration, 56 weeks) were seropositive at screening for hepatitis B (surface antigen positive) and/or hepatitis C (hepatitis C antibody positive). Among these coinfected patients, elevations in AST to greater than five times ULN developed in 13% of patients in the Efavirenz arms and 7% of those in the control arm, and elevations in ALT to greater than five times ULN developed in 20% of patients in the Efavirenz arms and 7% of patients in the control arm. Among coinfected patients, 3% of those treated with Efavirenz-containing regimens and 2% in the control arm discontinued from the study because of liver or biliary system disorders.
- Increases from baseline in total cholesterol of 10-20% have been observed in some uninfected volunteers receiving Efavirenz. In patients treated with Efavirenz + zidovudine + lamivudine, increases from baseline in nonfasting total cholesterol and HDL of approximately 20% and 25%, respectively, were observed. In patients treated with Efavirenz + indinavir, increases from baseline in non fasting cholesterol and HDL of approximately 40% and 35%, respectively, were observed. Nonfasting total cholesterol levels ≥240 mg/dL and ≥300 mg/dL were reported in 34% and 9%, respectively, of patients treated with Efavirenz + zidovudine + lamivudine; 54% and 20%, respectively, of patients treated with Efavirenz + indinavir; and 28% and 4%, respectively, of patients treated with indinavir + zidovudine + lamivudine. The effects of Efavirenz on triglycerides and LDL in this study were not well characterized since samples were taken from nonfasting patients. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.
Clinical Trial Experience in Pediatric Patients
- Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, the adverse reaction rates reported cannot be directly compared to rates in other clinical studies and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice. Assessment of adverse reactions is based on three clinical trials in 182 HIV-1 infected pediatric patients (3 months to 21 years of age) who received Efavirenz in combination with other antiretroviral agents for a median of 123 weeks. The adverse reactions observed in the three trials were similar to those observed in clinical trials in adults except that rash was more common in pediatric patients (32% for all grades regardless of causality) and more often of higher grade (ie, more severe). Two (1.1%) pediatric patients experienced Grade 3 rash (confluent rash with fever, generalized rash), and four (2.2%) pediatric patients had Grade 4 rash (all erythema multiforme). Five pediatric patients (2.7%) discontinued from the study because of rash.
Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of Efavirenz.
Body as a Whole
Central and Peripheral Nervous System
- Abnormal coordination
- Cerebellar coordination and balance disturbances
Liver and Biliary System
- Hepatic enzyme increase
- Hepatic failure
- A few of the postmarketing reports of hepatic failure, including cases in patients with no pre-existing hepatic disease or other identifiable risk factors, were characterized by a fulminant course, progressing in some cases to transplantation or death.
Metabolic and Nutritional
- Aggressive reactions
- Emotional lability
Skin and Appendages
- Efavirenz has been shown in vivo to induce CYP3A and CYP2B6. Other compounds that are substrates of CYP3A or CYP2B6 may have decreased plasma concentrations when coadministered with Efavirenz Drugs that induce CYP3A activity (eg, phenobarbital, rifampin, rifabutin) would be expected to increase the clearance of efavirenz resulting in lowered plasma concentrations. Drug interactions with Efavirenz are summarized in Table 5. This table includes potentially significant interactions, but is not all inclusive.
- Based on the results of drug interaction studies, no dosage adjustment is recommended when Efavirenz is given with the following: aluminum/][magnesium hydroxide]] antacids, azithromycin, cetirizine, famotidine, fluconazole, lamivudine, lorazepam, nelfinavir, paroxetine, tenofovir, disoproxil fumarate, and zidovudine.
- Specific drug interaction studies have not been performed with Efavirenz and NRTIs other than lamivudine and zidovudine. Clinically significant interactions would not be expected since the NRTIs are metabolized via a different route than efavirenz and would be unlikely to compete for the same metabolic enzymes and elimination pathways.
Cannabinoid Test Interaction
- Efavirenz does not bind to cannabinoid receptors. False-positive urine cannabinoid test results have been reported with some screening assays in uninfected and HIV-infected subjects receiving efavirenz. Confirmation of positive screening tests for cannabinoids by a more specific method is recommended.
Use in Specific Populations
- To monitor fetal outcomes of pregnant women exposed to Efavirenz, an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has been established. Physicians are encouraged to register patients by calling 1-800-258-4263.
- As of July 2010, the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has received prospective reports of 792 pregnancies exposed to efavirenz-containing regimens, nearly all of which were first-trimester exposures (718 pregnancies). Birth defects occurred in 17 of 604 live births (first-trimester exposure) and 2 of 69 live births (second/third-trimester exposure). One of these prospectively reported defects with first-trimester exposure was a neural tube defect. A single case of anophthalmia with first-trimester exposure to efavirenz has also been prospectively reported; however, this case included severe oblique facial clefts and amniotic banding, a known association with anophthalmia. There have been six retrospective reports of findings consistent with neural tube defects, including meningomyelocele. All mothers were exposed to efavirenz-containing regimens in the first trimester. Although a causal relationship of these events to the use of Efavirenz has not been established, similar defects have been observed in preclinical studies of efavirenz.
- Effects of efavirenz on embryo-fetal development have been studied in three nonclinical species (cynomolgus monkeys, rats, and rabbits). In monkeys, efavirenz 60 mg/kg/day was administered to pregnant females throughout pregnancy (gestation days 20 through 150). The maternal systemic drug exposures (AUC) were 1.3 times the exposure in humans at the recommended clinical dose (600 mg/day), with fetal umbilical venous drug concentrations approximately 0.7 times the maternal values. Three fetuses of 20 fetuses/infants had one or more malformations; there were no malformed fetuses or infants from placebo-treated mothers. The malformations that occurred in these three monkey fetuses included anencephaly and unilateral anophthalmia in one fetus, microphthalmia in a second, and cleft palate in the third. There was no NOAEL (no observable adverse effect level) established for this study because only one dosage was evaluated. In rats, efavirenz was administered either during organogenesis (gestation days 7 to 18) or from gestation day 7 through lactation day 21 at 50, 100, or 200 mg/kg/day. Administration of 200 mg/kg/day in rats was associated with increase in the incidence of early resorptions; and doses 100 mg/kg/day and greater were associated with early neonatal mortality. The AUC at the NOAEL (50 mg/kg/day) in this rat study was 0.1 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose. Drug concentrations in the milk on lactation day 10 were approximately 8 times higher than those in maternal plasma. In pregnant rabbits, efavirenz was neither embryo lethal nor teratogenic when administered at doses of 25, 50, and 75 mg/kg/day over the period of organogenesis (gestation days 6 through 18). The AUC at the NOAEL (75 mg/kg/day) in rabbits was 0.4 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose.
Pregnancy Category (AUS): There is no Australian Drug Evaluation Committee (ADEC) guidance on usage of Efavirenz in women who are pregnant.
Labor and Delivery
There is no FDA guidance on use of Efavirenz during labor and delivery.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-infected mothers not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV. Efavirenz has been shown to pass into human breast milk. Because of the potential for HIV transmission and the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants, mothers should be instructed not to breastfeed if they are receiving Efavirenz.
- The safety, pharmacokinetic profile, and virologic and immunologic responses of Efavirenz were evaluated in antiretroviral-naive and -experienced HIV-1 infected pediatric patients 3 months to 21 years of age in three open-label clinical trials. The type and frequency of adverse reactions in these trials were generally similar to those of adult patients with the exception of a higher frequency of rash, including a higher frequency of Grade 3 or 4 rash, in pediatric patients compared to adults.
- Use of Efavirenz in patients younger than 3 months of age OR less than 3.5 kg body weight is not recommended because the safety, pharmacokinetics, and antiviral activity of Efavirenz have not been evaluated in this age group and there is a risk of developing HIV resistance if Efavirenz is underdosed.
- Clinical studies of Efavirenz did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 years and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other therapy.
There is no FDA guidance on the use of Efavirenz with respect to specific gender populations.
There is no FDA guidance on the use of Efavirenz with respect to specific racial populations.
There is no FDA guidance on the use of Efavirenz in patients with renal impairment.
- Efavirenz is not recommended for patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment because there are insufficient data to determine whether dose adjustment is necessary. Patients with mild hepatic impairment may be treated with efavirenz without any adjustment in dose. Because of the extensive cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of efavirenz and limited clinical experience in patients with hepatic impairment, caution should be exercised in administering Efavirenz to these patients.
Females of Reproductive Potential and Males
There is no FDA guidance on the use of Efavirenz in women of reproductive potentials and males.
There is no FDA guidance one the use of Efavirenz in patients who are immunocompromised.
Administration and Monitoring
There is limited information regarding Efavirenz Administration in the drug label.
There is limited information regarding Efavirenz Monitoring in the drug label.
There is limited information regarding the compatibility of Efavirenz and IV administrations.
- Some patients accidentally taking 600 mg twice daily have reported increased nervous system symptoms. One patient experienced involuntary muscle contractions.
- Treatment of overdose with Efavirenz should consist of general supportive measures, including monitoring of vital signs and observation of the patient’s clinical status. Administration of activated charcoal may be used to aid removal of unabsorbed drug. There is no specific antidote for overdose with Efavirenz. Since efavirenz is highly protein bound, dialysis is unlikely to significantly remove the drug from blood.
|Systematic (IUPAC) name|
|Mol. mass||315.675 g/mol|
|Metabolism||Hepatic (CYP2A6 and CYP2B6-mediated)|
|Half life||40-55 hours|
|Excretion||Renal and fecal|
POM (UK), ℞-only (U.S.)
Mechanism of Action
- Efavirenz is an NNRTI of HIV-1. Efavirenz activity is mediated predominantly by noncompetitive inhibition of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. HIV-2 reverse transcriptase and human cellular DNA polymerases α, β, γ, and δ are not inhibited by efavirenz.
There is limited information regarding Efavirenz Pharmacodynamics in the drug label.
- Peak efavirenz plasma concentrations of 1.6-9.1 μM were attained by 5 hours following single oral doses of 100 mg to 1600 mg administered to uninfected volunteers. Dose-related increases in Cmax and AUC were seen for doses up to 1600 mg; the increases were less than proportional suggesting diminished absorption at higher doses.
- In HIV-1-infected patients at steady state, mean Cmax, mean Cmin, and mean AUC were dose proportional following 200 mg, 400 mg, and 600 mg daily doses. Time-to-peak plasma concentrations were approximately 3-5 hours and steady-state plasma concentrations were reached in 6-10 days. In 35 patients receiving Efavirenz 600 mg once daily, steady-state Cmax was 12.9 ± 3.7 μM (mean ± SD), steady-state Cmin was 5.6 ± 3.2 μM, and AUC was 184 ± 73 μM•h.
Effect of Food on Oral Absorption
- Capsules: Administration of a single 600 mg dose of efavirenz capsules with a high-fat/high-caloric meal (894 kcal, 54 g fat, 54% calories from fat) or a reduced-fat/normal-caloric meal (440 kcal, 2 g fat, 4% calories from fat) was associated with a mean increase of 22% and 17% in efavirenz AUC∞ and a mean increase of 39% and 51% in efavirenz Cmax, respectively, relative to the exposures achieved when given under fasted conditions.
- Tablets: Administration of a single 600 mg efavirenz tablet with a high-fat/high-caloric meal (approximately 1000 kcal, 500-600 kcal from fat) was associated with a 28% increase in mean AUC∞ of efavirenz and a 79% increase in mean Cmax of efavirenz relative to the exposures achieved under fasted conditions.
- Bioavailability of capsule contents mixed with food vehicles: In healthy adult subjects, the efavirenz AUC when administered as the contents of three 200 mg capsules mixed with 2 teaspoons of certain food vehicles (applesauce, grape jelly or yogurt, or infant formula) met bioequivalency criteria for the AUC of the intact capsule formulation administered under fasted conditions.
- Efavirenz is highly bound (approximately 99.5-99.75%) to human plasma proteins, predominantly albumin. In HIV-1 infected patients (n=9) who received Efavirenz 200 to 600 mg once daily for at least one month, cerebrospinal fluid concentrations ranged from 0.26 to 1.19% (mean 0.69%) of the corresponding plasma concentration. This proportion is approximately 3-fold higher than the non-protein-bound (free) fraction of efavirenz in plasma.
- Studies in humans and in vitro studies using human liver microsomes have demonstrated that efavirenz is principally metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system to hydroxylated metabolites with subsequent glucuronidation of these hydroxylated metabolites. These metabolites are essentially inactive against HIV-1. The in vitro studies suggest that CYP3A and CYP2B6 are the major isozymes responsible for efavirenz metabolism.
- Efavirenz has been shown to induce CYP enzymes, resulting in the induction of its own metabolism. Multiple doses of 200-400 mg per day for 10 days resulted in a lower than predicted extent of accumulation (22-42% lower) and a shorter terminal half-life of 40-55 hours (single dose half-life 52-76 hours).
- Efavirenz has a terminal half-life of 52-76 hours after single doses and 40-55 hours after multiple doses. A one-month mass balance/excretion study was conducted using 400 mg per day with a 14C-labeled dose administered on Day 8. Approximately 14-34% of the radiolabel was recovered in the urine and 16-61% was recovered in the feces. Nearly all of the urinary excretion of the radiolabeled drug was in the form of metabolites. Efavirenz accounted for the majority of the total radioactivity measured in feces.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
- Long-term carcinogenicity studies in mice and rats were carried out with efavirenz. Mice were dosed with 0, 25, 75, 150, or 300 mg/kg/day for 2 years. Incidences of hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas and pulmonary alveolar adenomas/bronchiolar adenomas were increased above background in females. No increases in tumor incidence above background were seen in males. There was no NOAEL in females established for this study because tumor findings occurred at all doses. AUC at the NOAEL (150 mg/kg) in the males was approximately 0.9 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose. In the rat study, no increases in tumor incidence were observed at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day, for which AUCs were 0.1 (males) or 0.2 (females) times those in humans at the recommended clinical dose.
- Efavirenz tested negative in a battery of in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity assays. These included bacterial mutation assays in S. typhimurium and E. coli, mammalian mutation assays in Chinese hamster ovary cells, chromosome aberration assays in human peripheral blood lymphocytes or Chinese hamster ovary cells, and an in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay.
Impairment of Fertility
- Efavirenz did not impair mating or fertility of male or female rats, and did not affect sperm of treated male rats. The reproductive performance of offspring born to female rats given efavirenz was not affected. The AUCs at the NOAEL values in male (200 mg/kg) and female (100 mg/kg) rats were approximately ≤0.15 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose.
- Nonsustained convulsions were observed in 6 of 20 monkeys receiving efavirenz at doses yielding plasma AUC values 4- to 13-fold greater than those in humans given the recommended dose.
- Study 006, a randomized, open-label trial, compared Efavirenz (600 mg once daily) + zidovudine (ZDV, 300 mg q12h) + lamivudine (LAM, 150 mg q12h) or Efavirenz (600 mg once daily) + indinavir (IDV, 1000 mg q8h) with indinavir (800 mg q8h) + zidovudine (300 mg q12h) + lamivudine (150 mg q12h). Twelve hundred sixty-six patients (mean age 36.5 years [range 18-81], 60% Caucasian, 83% male) were enrolled. All patients were efavirenz-, lamivudine-, NNRTI-, and PI-naive at study entry. The median baseline CD4+ cell count was 320 cells/mm3 and the median baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 4.8 log10 copies/mL. Treatment outcomes with standard assay (assay limit 400 copies/mL) through 48 and 168 weeks are shown in Table 9. Plasma HIV RNA levels were quantified with standard (assay limit 400 copies/mL) and ultrasensitive (assay limit 50 copies/mL) versions of the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR assay. During the study, version 1.5 of the assay was introduced in Europe to enhance detection of non-clade B virus.
- For patients treated with Efavirenz + zidovudine + lamivudine, Efavirenz + indinavir, or indinavir + zidovudine + lamivudine, the percentage of responders with HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL was 65%, 50%, and 45%, respectively, through 48 weeks, and 43%, 31%, and 23%, respectively, through 168 weeks. A Kaplan-Meier analysis of time to loss of virologic response (HIV RNA <400 copies/mL) suggests that both the trends of virologic response and differences in response continue through 4 years.
- ACTG 364 is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 48-week study in NRTI-experienced patients who had completed two prior ACTG studies. One-hundred ninety-six patients (mean age 41 years [range 18-76], 74% Caucasian, 88% male) received NRTIs in combination with Efavirenz (600 mg once daily), or nelfinavir (NFV, 750 mg three times daily), or Efavirenz (600 mg once daily) + nelfinavir in a randomized, double-blinded manner. The mean baseline CD4+ cell count was 389 cells/mm3 and mean baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 8130 copies/mL. Upon entry into the study, all patients were assigned a new open-label NRTI regimen, which was dependent on their previous NRTI treatment experience. There was no significant difference in the mean CD4+ cell count among treatment groups; the overall mean increase was approximately 100 cells at 48 weeks among patients who continued on study regimens. Treatment outcomes are shown in Table 10. Plasma HIV RNA levels were quantified with the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR assay using a lower limit of quantification of 500 copies/mL.
- Study AI266922 is an open-label study to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, safety, tolerability, and antiviral activity of Efavirenz in combination with didanosine and emtricitabine in antiretroviral-naive and -experienced pediatric patients. Thirty-seven patients 3 months to 6 years of age (median 0.7 years) were treated with Efavirenz. At baseline, median plasma HIV-1 RNA was 5.88 log10 copies/mL, median CD4+ cell count was 1144 cells/mm3, and median CD4+ percentage was 25%. The median time on study therapy was 60 weeks; 27% of patients discontinued before Week 48. Using an ITT analysis, the overall proportions of patients with HIV RNA <400 copies/mL and <50 copies/mL at Week 48 were 57% (21/37) and 46% (17/37), respectively. The median increase from baseline in CD4+ count at 48 weeks was 196 cells/mm3 and the median increase in CD4+ percentage was 6%.
- Study PACTG 1021 was an open-label study to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, safety, tolerability, and antiviral activity of Efavirenz in combination with didanosine and emtricitabine in pediatric patients who were antiretroviral therapy naive. Forty-three patients 3 months to 21 years of age (median 9.6 years) were dosed with Efavirenz. At baseline, median plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.8 log10 copies/mL, median CD4+ cell count was 367 cells/mm3, and median CD4+ percentage was 18%. The median time on study therapy was 181 weeks; 16% of patients discontinued before Week 48. Using an ITT analysis, the overall proportions of patients with HIV RNA <400 copies/mL and <50 copies/mL at Week 48 were 77% (33/43) and 70% (30/43), respectively. The median increase from baseline in CD4+ count at 48 weeks of therapy was 238 cells/mm3 and the median increase in CD4+ percentage was 13%.
- Study PACTG 382 was an open-label study to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, safety, tolerability, and antiviral activity of Efavirenz in combination with nelfinavir and an NRTI in antiretroviral-naive and NRTI-experienced pediatric patients. One hundred two patients 3 months to 16 years of age (median 5.7 years) were treated with Efavirenz. Eighty-seven percent of patients had received prior antiretroviral therapy. At baseline, median plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.57 log10 copies/mL, median CD4+ cell count was 755 cells/mm3, and median CD4+ percentage was 30%. The median time on study therapy was 118 weeks; 25% of patients discontinued before Week 48. Using an ITT analysis, the overall proportion of patients with HIV RNA <400 copies/mL and <50 copies/mL at Week 48 were 57% (58/102) and 43% (44/102), respectively. The median increase from baseline in CD4+ count at 48 weeks of therapy was 128 cells/mm3 and the median increase in CD4+ percentage was 5%.
There is limited information regarding Efavirenz Storage in the drug label.
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Patient Counseling Information
There is limited information regarding Efavirenz Patient Counseling Information in the drug label.
Precautions with Alcohol
Alcohol-Efavirenz interaction has not been established. Talk to your doctor about the effects of taking alcohol with this medication.
Look-Alike Drug Names
There is limited information regarding Efavirenz Look-Alike Drug Names in the drug label.
The contents of this FDA label are provided by the National Library of Medicine.