Why is this medication prescribed?
The combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir is used along with other medications to treat HIV in adults and children 12 years of age and older. Emtricitabine and tenofovir (Truvada) is also used along with practicing safer sex to help prevent high-risk people from getting HIV. Emtricitabine and tenofovir are in a class of medications called nucleoside and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). They work by slowing the spread of HIV in the body. Although emtricitabine and tenofovir will not cure HIV, these medications may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of getting or transmitting the HIV virus to other people.
How should this medicine be used?
The combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken, with or without food, once a day. Take emtricitabine and tenofovir at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take emtricitabine and tenofovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend a calcium and vitamin D supplement to take during your treatment. You should take these supplements every day as directed by your doctor.
Continue to take emtricitabine and tenofovir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking emtricitabine and tenofovir without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking emtricitabine and tenofovir,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to emtricitabine and tenofovir, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in emtricitabine and tenofovir tablets. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antiviral medications such as acyclovir (Sitavig, Zovirax), adefovir (Hepsera), cidofovir, ganciclovir (Cytovene), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and valganciclovir (Valcyte); aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn);gentamicin; other medications for HIV or AIDS including atazanavir (Reyataz, in Evotaz), darunavir (Prezista, in Prezcobix), didanosine (Videx), emtricitabine (Emtriva, in Atripla, in Complera, in Truvada, others), lamivudine (Epivir, in Combivir, in Epzicom, in Trizivir, others), lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra), and tenofovir (Viread, in Atripla, in Stribild, in Truvada, others). If you are taking emtricitabine and tenofovir (Descovy) also tell your doctor if you are taking carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, others), oxcarbazepine (Oxtellar XR, Trileptal), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater), rifapentine (Priftin). and ritonavir (Norvir), with tipranavir (Aptivus). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort. You should not take St. John’s wort while you are taking emtricitabine and tenofovir (Descovy).
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had the conditions mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, bone problems including osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) or bone fractures, any type of infection that does not go away or that comes and goes such as tuberculosis (TB; a type of lung infection) or cytomegalovirus (CMV; a viral infection that may cause symptoms in people with weak immune systems), or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking emtricitabine and tenofovir, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking emtricitabine and tenofovir.
- you should be aware that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body, such as your upper back, neck (”buffalo hump”), breasts, and around your stomach. You may notice a loss of body fat from your face, legs, and arms.
- you should know that while you are taking medications to treat HIV infection, your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight other infections that were already in your body. This may cause you to develop symptoms of those infections. If you have new or worsening symptoms during your treatment with emtricitabine and tenofovir, be sure to tell your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it that day. Do not take more than one dose in a day. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.