Pronunciation: EM-trye-SYE-ta-been/ten-OF-oh-vir AL-a-FEN-a-mide
Common Brand Name(s): Descovy
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
If you have hepatitis B infection as well as HIV, your hepatitis symptoms may get worse or become very serious if you stop taking this medication. Talk with your doctor before stopping this medication. Your doctor will check liver function tests for several months after you stop.
If you are taking this product to prevent HIV infection, you must first get tested to be sure you are HIV-negative. Your doctor will perform laboratory tests before starting this medication and periodically during treatment (every 3 months) to make sure that you do not have HIV infection. Using this product will not always prevent HIV infection. To get the most benefit from it, take this product exactly as directed, and follow all prevention actions. (See also Uses section.) Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of HIV infection (such as tiredness, fever, persistent sore throat, night sweats, diarrhea, joint/muscle aches, enlarged lymph nodes).
This product is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. This product is a combination of two different drugs: emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. Emtricitabine is called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, while tenofovir alafenamide is called a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor. They are often called NRTIs.
This product should not be used by itself to help control HIV infection. Doing so can make your treatment less effective. Use combination treatment with at least one other HIV medication.
This product is also approved in the US to help prevent HIV infection in people who have a high risk for infection. Some things that increase risk include having a partner infected with HIV, having unprotected sex, having multiple sex partners, infection with a sexually transmitted disease-STD, or use/abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide is not a cure for HIV infection. Also, it will not always prevent HIV infection. To help prevent becoming infected with HIV and to decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
How To Use
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with or without food. The dosage is based on your kidney function, medical condition, and response to treatment. For children, the dosage is also based on weight.
When used to treat HIV infection, this product is taken with other medicines that treat HIV. If you are also taking didanosine enteric-coated tablets, take both products either on an empty stomach or with a light meal. If you are taking the didanosine buffered tablets, take both drug products on an empty stomach.
It is very important to keep taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses.
For the best effect, take this medication at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time every day.
Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Doing so may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.
Diarrhea, headache, trouble sleeping, back pain, or change in the color of skin on your palms or soles of your feet may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
As your immune system gets stronger with HIV treatment, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including:
- unexplained weight loss
- severe tiredness
- muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away
- headaches that are severe or don't go away
- joint pain
- numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs
- vision changes
- signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores)
- signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter)
- signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking)
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- mental/mood changes (such as depression, anxiety)
- signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine, pink/bloody urine)
Rarely, this medication can cause severe (sometimes fatal) liver and blood problems (lactic acidosis). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine) or lactic acidosis (such as deep/rapid breathing, drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, unusual weakness).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to emtricitabine or tenofovir; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- liver problems (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cirrhosis)
- alcohol use
- bone problems (such as bone disease, bone loss/osteoporosis, weak/broken bones)
- kidney disease
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby, and this medication may be part of that treatment. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Also, if you have HIV infection, do not breast-feed because breast milk can transmit HIV.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug are:
- other drugs that may harm the kidneys (including aminoglycosides such as amikacin/gentamicin)
Tenofovir alafenamide can decrease the effectiveness of another medication, atazanavir (by decreasing blood levels). If you are taking atazanavir with this product, you may need to also take another medication (ritonavir). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Check the labels on all your medicines for HIV infection because they may contain the same or similar ingredients as those in this product (such as tenofovir alafenamide, emtricitabine, lamivudine). Do not take medications that contain the same or similar ingredients as this product.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as kidney/liver function, viral load, test for hepatitis B virus, T-cell counts, blood mineral levels, bone density) should be done before you start taking this medication and while you are taking it. Keep all medical and lab appointments.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store this medication in its original container at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised October 2019.
Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.