Q and A


What happens if don’t take Atripla on an empty stomach?

Hello! I take Atripla and I need to take it on an empty stomach. I am just wondering what happens when I don’t take it on an empty stomach and how long after a meal is the stomach empty?


Thank you for your question.

Eating before taking Atripla will not stop it from working.

When the drug instructions say take Atripla on an empty stomach, it does not mean that you have to feel physically empty or hungry. That is why the recommendation is to take your medication after about 2 hours without eating. A cup of tea and a biscuit an hour before you take your medication should be fine.

One of the reasons why they recommend taking it on an empty stomach is because a high fat mean can increase the drug levels of efavirenz  to 60%. This can then increase the side effects. Nearly all other foods are fine, just leave a couple of hours when the meal is high fat. [efavirenz is one of the drugs contained in Atripla].

Some people find that they can eat and take Atripla almost straight after without experiencing side effects. However, as people are individuals and react differently to treatment, others find that eating and taking Atripla straight after, gives them nausea, vomitting or diarrhoea.

Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Sophy,

    Are you taking your ARVs as prescribed? This being on an empty stomach?

  2. Sophy

    Hi I have started taking odimune for five days, since then I have heartburn and feeling nauseous.

  3. Hi Nomsa, yes, please contact your doctor or clinic. These might be side effects of efavirenz. You need support to help with how you feel.

  4. nomsa

    I have a feeling of lost hope.the side effects are only appearing now and it’s almost 6 weeks. I feel so depressed,tiredness,can’t concentrate,loss of appetite,moods change and nausea.should I consult the clinic

  5. Hi,

    You should talk to your clinic or doctor about your symptoms. They can help you work out what is causing them.
    You should be able to change back either to your old combination or a new one. You can also talk to your clinic about wether there are other meds available.

  6. teresa

    Hi. I’ve been taking ARVs for 3 years but now I’m taking Odimune.I experience the nausea,vomiting and stomach cramps. I just want to know that its the side effect of Odimune or what? I didn’t have this problem while I was taking other ARVs. Once you have stated with Odimune is it possible to go back to other ARVs?

  7. Hi Enhle

    Please talk to your doctor or someone at your clinic about how you feel. Unless you do this they cannot help you.

    Both ARVs and isoniazid are important for both your health and your baby. The clinic needs to check that this is not another health problem.

    These may be initial side effect which then usually get better but you need to check.

    Stopping treatment is not recommended for either you or your baby, unless your doctor says to do this.

    Finding out you are positive is difficult and takes time. The clinic may know of counselling or other support groups than could help.

  8. enhle

    Hi im 6 months pregnant and jst found out i am HIV positive and started on ARVs and isoniazid. I’m being sick, vomiting, not eating and feeling very weak. Is this normal and will it not affect the the baby? I’m afraid. I even think of stoping using the pills pls help.

  9. Hi,

    It is usually recommended that you take Odimune on an empty stomach. This is because taking it with high fat food can increase drug levels and therefore side effects. You can read more about this in the answer to the question above.

    Odimune is a generic version (a copy) of Atripla. They contain the same meds but have different names because they’re made by different companies.

    Again its usually recommended that you leave at least two hours between food and Odimune.

    You can find more information about Odimune here:

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