Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide (Oral)

This medication is a combination drug that decreases the amount of HIV in your system. This can increase the function of your immune system and improve your quality of life.

Overview

This drug combines two drugs in a fixed dose, which increases the success rate of the overall treatment. These drugs are Emtricitabine and Tenofavir Alafenamide, two drugs used to treat HIV. Combined, they create the drug Descovy. While this drug does not cure or prevent the spread of HIV, it can improve the life of the patient. It consists of two NRTIs that reduce the amount of HIV infection in the body. This can allow the immune system to function properly and reduces the chances of further infection.

It is taken orally, and your doctor may recommend that you take this drug with food. It has a fixed dose, meaning that the dose changes little depending on the patient. Talk to your doctor if any child under 12 requires this treatment. This drug should only be taken as directed. If you have any questions or concerns about how this drug might affect you, speak with your doctor before taking your first dose.

This drug might have side effects. Because your immune system recovers under this drug, it may begin to fight infections that were previously unchecked. You may experience flu-like symptoms, fatigue, or nausea. If these symptoms persist or worsen, speak to your doctor. Other side effects may be more dangerous, so keep an eye on your body and contact your doctor if you experience anything troubling.

This drug is recommended to anyone suffering from an HIV infection. However, it may not be the right choice for everyone. If you think this drug may be affecting you negatively, speak to your doctor. Keep in mind that your doctor recommended this drug for your safety, and the benefits of treatment far outweigh those of an untreated lifestyle.

Type Of Medication

  • Double nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)

Conditions Treated

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Side Effects

Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide may come with side effects, especially during the beginning of your treatment. These side effects can range from mild to severe, and you should always keep a clear record on what you experience on this drug. If you encounter severe, persistent, or troubling side effects, contact your doctor. They may advise you to stop taking the medication, or they may switch you to another prescription.

Some side effects can be mild, even harmless. These do not require medical attention, and while they may be unpleasant, you should not worry about them. If they persist or make your life difficult, speak to your doctor about possible solutions. Common side effects include:

  • Mild weight gain (particularly around the neck, back, and waist)
  • Nausea
  • Mild fatigue or tiredness
  • Short-lived flu/cold symptoms

Contact your doctor right away if these symptoms persist or worsen.

Some side effects may be symptoms of a larger problem. Talk to your doctor right away if you experience:

  • Kidney problems (decrease in urine production, bloodied urine)
  • Sudden or exacerbated depression/anxiety
  • Liver problems (persistent nausea/vomiting, yellowing of the eyes/skin, abdominal pain)
  • Blood problems (weakness, persistent nausea/vomiting, unusually deep and rapid breathing)
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (loss of movement in the eyes, facial drooping, trouble speaking and swallowing)
  • Thyroid problems (sensitivity to heat, growths in the neck, fast heartbeat)
  • Severe headaches
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
  • Vision changes
  • Signs of infection (chills, fever, persistent cough, etc.)

Speak to your doctor immediately if you experience any troubling side effects. Contact medical help if you believe your life is in danger at any time, and do not continue taking this drug after experiencing severe side effects. Only use this drug under your doctor's supervision, and only take it as directed.

Dosage

Because this drug has a fixed dose, there is no need for a personal evaluation to determine how much you should take. Regardless of your age or weight, the recommended dose for Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide is one tablet a day. Children under the age of twelve should only take this drug with strict supervision, and they may require a different dosage. Speak to your doctor before giving your child any form of this drug.

This drug should be taken orally, and it is recommended that you take it with food so your body can process it easily. Do not crush or dissolve this tablet before taking it, and do not chew it. Swallow it whole and follow up with a glass of water or juice.

If you miss a dose of this drug, take it as soon as you remember. If too much time has passed since your last dose, just return to your normal schedule the next day. Do not take double to make up for the lost dose, and avoid skipping doses where you can. Keep a calendar or spreadsheet to track treatment, and set alarms or reminders to take your medication.

Do not stop taking this drug abruptly or without doctor approval. If you feel better while taking this drug, it's because the drug is working. Only stop your treatment if your doctor advises it. Do not continue taking this drug after your treatment is over. If you are nearing the end of your prescription, speak to your doctor about how to proceed.

Always take this drug as directed. Failure to do so can result in decreased efficacy or even overdose. Take this pill once a day, and do not skip doses or double-dose. If you need a refill, talk to your pharmacist or doctor at least 5 days before your medication runs out.

Interactions

This medication may interact with other drugs. These interactions can vary between mild and life-threatening, so it is best to avoid them altogether. Only take drugs together if your doctor says it is safe for you to do so.

If you are currently taking an interactive medication, your doctor may advise that you stop taking or lower the dose of that drug. Your doctor may also switch you to a non-interactive option or recommend other forms of treatment. This is in your best interest, but if it's a serious issue, bring it up before beginning your prescription.

You should keep a detailed list of your medications on file. This includes over the counter and herbal remedies as well. Always inform your doctor before starting a new medication while taking this drug, and do not take drugs you know will interact with Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide. Doing so may reduce the effectiveness of your treatment or put your life in danger.

Common interactions with this drug include:

  • HIV medications, including lamivudine or other drugs containing emtricitabine or tenofovir alafenamide.
  • Adefovir
  • Amikacin/gentamicin
  • Atanazavir
  • St. John's Wort
  • Phenobarbital
  • Tipranavir
  • Carbamazepine
  • Rifapentine
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifabutin
  • Rifampin
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Orlistat

This is only a list of the most common interactions. Always speak to your doctor before taking this drug with any other medications. No online list is completely exhaustive, so your doctor should be your first source of information. Make sure to keep them updated on all the drugs you are taking, and do not start any new treatments without their approval. If you think a drug may interact with Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide, avoid taking it until you can get our doctor's approval.

Warnings

Some people may be unable to take this drug for a number of reasons. This drug should only be taken under a doctor's supervision, so make sure to discuss your treatment before beginning any prescription. Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide may be harmful to those who have pre-existing conditions or sensitivities to this drug.

If you have a history of liver disease or Hepatits B, speak to your doctor before taking this drug. This medication may cause liver problems, so report back any unusual changes to your doctor. This drug can also cause lactic acidosis, which can be dangerous if you do not seek treatment.

Because this drug increases the function of your immune system, your body's defenses may begin to attack previously unnoticed infections. If you experience symptoms of other infections (ie. herpes, tuberculosis, or pneumonia), speak to your doctor right away.

This drug is not a replacement for proper sexual health. Always inform your partner if you have HIV, and do not have unprotected sex or breastfeed if you have HIV. This drug does not prevent the transmission of HIV, so if you are uninfected, do not take this drug or have unprotected sex with someone who does have HIV. Get tested often, and encourage your partners to get tested as well. Do not come into contact with semen, blood, or other bodily fluids, and do not expose others to them.

Some people may be allergic to this drug and its contents. Allergies should be taken seriously, and they can become fatal if left unchecked. Allergy symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face/mouth/lips/tongue
  • Itching of the face/mouth/lips/tongue
  • Closing airways
  • Unexplained rash or blistering
  • Upset stomach

Do not take this drug if you have experienced an allergic reaction while taking it. Do not take this drug if you have a previous allergy to any of the active/inactive ingredients. If you experience an allergic reaction while taking this drug, stop taking it and throw away the medication. If you believe your life is in danger, contact medical help immediately.

Storage

This drug should be stored responsibly to avoid ruining the quality and efficacy. Always store this medication in a cool, dry place. Do not let the pills come in contact with water, and avoid storing this medication in a humid area. If your bathroom becomes humid during showers, avoid keeping Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide in that room. Do not freeze this medication or heat it in any way.

Do not take expired or ruined medication. It may be less effective or not effective at all. If you need more pills, contact your doctor or pharmacist to request a refill. Always dispose of this drug in a sealed container, and do not give this drug to anyone else. If you need to dispose of this drug, throw it away normally or look for medication take-back programs in your area. These programs should be hosted by hospitals or pharmacies only.

Keep this drug out of reach of children and pets. If accidental consumption occurs, contact poison control. Be ready to inform them on when the drug was taken and how much was ingested. They may require the prescription bottle so they can properly identify the drug. Always keep the information leaflet and prescription bottle on hand, and do not throw them away. These resources may be valuable in case of an emergency.

Handle this medication responsibly, and do not endanger yourself or others.

Summary

Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide can be an effective aid in cases of HIV infection. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with HIV, your doctor may recommend this drug as your primary medication. It combines two drugs for a more successful treatment, and studies show that it yields better results than using Emtricitabine or Tenofovir Alafenamide by itself.

You should only use this drug if you need it. This drug has no off-brand uses, and it should only be used in the treatment of HIV. If you have doubts about its effectiveness, speak to your doctor. You may require blood-work to judge the effectiveness of this treatment. Go to all your scheduled check-ups, and keep a healthy level of communication with your doctor.

This drug can cause side effects. Keep a detailed list of your experiences, and bring them up at your check-ups. If they become troubling or severe, call your doctor as soon as possible. Avoid taking any interactive drugs, and do not take this medication if you have experienced allergies or adverse reactions to Emtricitabine or Tenofovir Alafenamide. Only take this drug as directed, and do not give it to anyone else.

This medication can be a valuable treatment for HIV. Along with improving the patient's quality of life, it can prevent further infection. If you have HIV or believe you may have HIV, get tested and speak to your doctor about your options. This medication may be a good fit for you.