Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a first choice HIV antiretroviral (ARV) used in combination with other HIV ARVs for the treatment and prevention of HIV. It is one of the most common HIV ARVs used around the world.
Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). It inserts itself into the virus' DNA by pretending to be a DNA building block, but actually stops the DNA making process. When this happens the HIV virus can't make copies of itself.
Children: The dose is based on the child's age, weight, and whether they are taking the capsule or the oral solution
Is Emtriva (emtricitabine) PrEP?
Emtriva (emtricitabine) is one of the two HIV ARVs in Truvada and Descovy. The two HIV ARV combos used for the prevention of HIV, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. However, only the HIV ARV combination tablets are FDA approved to be used for PrEP.
Can you open Emtriva (emtricitabine) capsules and sprinkle them on food?
When's the best time of day to take Emtriva (emtricitabine)?
What should I do if I forget a dose of Emtriva (emtricitabine)?
Does Emtriva (emtricitabine) cause weight gain?
Very effective against HIV, with few side effects
Taken only once a day with or without food
Available in many combination tablets with other HIV ARVs
Available as a capsule and oral solution
Can be used in pregnancy and in children right after they are born
Dose must be adjusted if you have kidney problems
Must be used in combination with other HIV ARVs
The oral solution is absorbed less than the capsule, so the dose is higher
Some people with hepatitis B virus (HBV) have worsening of the liver after stopping Emtriva (emtricitabine)
Requires regular labs to make sure the medication is working against HIV and to check your kidney and liver
Take Emtriva (emtricitabine) at the same time everyday, with or without food.
If you have kidney problems, make sure you get your labs done regularly and pay attention to your dosing instructions. Some people with severe kidney problems take Emtriva (emtricitabine) less often to prevent build up of the medication.
The oral solution should be kept in the fridge, but not frozen. It can be kept at room temperature for 3 months, after 3 months it should be thrown away.
Don't stop taking Emtriva (emtricitabine) without talking to your healthcare provider first. Stopping the medication can lead to a HBV flare up and uncontrolled HIV.
Opening the capsules is not recommended by the manufacturer. If you or your child has a hard time swallowing the capsules, talk to your provider about the oral solution. Remember, the oral solution dose will be more than the capsule dose.
With any medication, there are risks and benefits. Even if the medication is working, you may experience some unwanted side effects.
The following side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know immediately if you continue to experience these symptoms or if they worsen over time.
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible: Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
Emtriva (emtricitabine) can cause some serious health issues. This risk may be even higher for certain groups. If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options
People who have stopped taking Emtriva (emtricitabine) have had severe worsening of their hepatitis B. Before you start Emtriva (emtricitabine) your provider will check if you have hepatitis B. If you do, your provider might start you on an anti-hepatitis B medication. Don't stop taking Emtriva (emtricitabine) unless instructed by your healthcare provider.
HIV attacks your immune system. Over time, if the virus isn't treated your body may become defenseless against bacterial and fungal infections. Your HIV medications are very good at killing the virus, and when the number of viruses goes down, your immune system gets started making more cells. Once your immune system gets better, it will start to fight off any infections you might have, which can lead to a lot of inflammation. Even though it's a good thing that your immune system is getting better, too much inflammation can be bad. Your healthcare provider might check for underlying infections (sometimes called opportunistic infections) before starting Emtriva (emtricitabine) especially if it is your first time taking HIV medications. Call your provider if you experience fever, difficulty breathing, or sudden changes to your health after starting Emtriva (emtricitabine).
Although rare, NRTIs including Emtriva (emtricitabine) can cause a life-threatening liver problem called lactic acidosis with hepatic steatosis. Most of the cases have been in women. Symptoms can include appetite loss, stomach pain, muscle pain, fast and shallow breathing, extreme tiredness, and sudden weakness. Stop taking Emtriva (emtricitabine) and go to the emergency room right away if this happens.
Emtriva (emtricitabine) is available as a generic medication and may be significantly cheaper compared to the brand version. Unless there is a specific reason you need the brand, the generic medication will be a better value. For even more savings, use a GoodRx coupon and pay just a fraction of the retail price.
Pricing based on most commonly-filled versions: 30 capsules of emtricitabine 200mg
There are a number of medications that your doctor can prescribe in place of Emtriva (emtricitabine). Compare a few possible alternatives below.