Two New HIV Drugs Hit Pharmacies

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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For years, HIV and AIDS treatment required several different pills—many of which were large and hard to take, and came with side effects like nausea and vomiting.

Today, advancements in HIV treatment can mean taking as little as one pill at a time—and two more options, Odefsey and Descovy, were just approved by the FDA.

What is Odefsey used for?
Odefsey is a complete regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 in patients 12 years and older. It’s used as an initial treatment—meaning you may be prescribed Odefsey if you have no history of antiretroviral treatment—or to replace a stable treatment regimen if you’ve been virologically-suppressed for at least 6 months.

What is Descovy used for?
Descovy is used in combination with other antiretroviral medications for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in patients 12 years and older.

Are Odefsey and Descovy similar?

Yes. Both Odefsey and Descovy contain the same two active ingredients, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. Odefsey also has an additional ingredient, rilpivirine.

Is there anything unique about Odefsey or Descovy?

Yes. Odefsey is the second tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) based single-tablet treatment for HIV-1. The first was Genvoya.

TAF-based regimens are easier on the kidneys and better for the bones, meaning they may be a preferable option.

Descovy is still used with other medications (it isn’t a single-tablet regimen).

How will Odefsy and Descovy be used?

The recommended dose of Odefsey is a single 200 mg/25 mg/25 mg tablet taken by mouth once a day with a meal.

The recommended dose of Descovy is a single 200 mg/25 mg tablet taken by mouth once a day with or without food.

What are some common side effects of Odefsey and Descovy?

Side effects of Odefsey may include depressive disorders, insomnia, headache, and nausea.

The most common side effect of Descovy is nausea.

When will Odefsey and Descovy be available?

Both medications are in pharmacies now.

Want more information?

See the press announcement for Odefsey here and the announcement for Descovy here.

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