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Frequently Asked Questions About Biktarvy
What is Biktarvy?
Biktarvy is an oral medication that contains three active ingredients bictegravir, emtricitabine, and alafenamide. It is used in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) in adults. It works by reducing the count of the HIV virus in your body.
Biktarvy improves your immune system, reducing the risk of developing other illnesses related to HIV infection and improving your quality of life.
If you or your loved one is prescribed Biktarvy or you want to know more about this medicine, keep on reading. This article will help you understand more about it and clear all doubts you may have.
How to use Biktarvy?
What Are The Approved Label Uses Of Biktarvy?
- Biktarvy is used to treat HIV-1 infection (as a complete regime) in adults and children weighing at least 25 kg or 55 pounds.
- It is used as initial therapy in patients with no treatment history of antiretroviral therapy or
- It replaces an antiretroviral regime in patients whose viral count is suppressed and patients with no history of treatment failure or associated resistance individual drugs.
However, Biktarvy is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
What are some off-label uses of Biktarvy?
There is no off-label use of the medicine so far.
It may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What are the instructions for Biktarvy?
Do not stop taking the medication without consulting with your doctor. Follow the instructions on the prescription label and ask your physician or pharmacist if you have any queries.
- Biktarvy is available as a tablet that is to be taken orally.
- It is usually prescribed once daily. It can be taken with or without food. Take the medication at the same time every day so that it is easy to remember.
- Take this medication regularly to get the maximum response of the treatment.
- If you take antacids or supplements containing magnesium or aluminum, you need to take Biktarvy 2 hours before the antacids or supplements containing magnesium or aluminum. Or you can take Biktarvy with food 2 hours after consuming antacids or supplements containing magnesium or aluminum.
- If you are taking iron supplements, you need to take Biktarvy 2 hours before iron supplements. Or you can take them along with food.
If you miss your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you notice within 18 hours of the time, you should take Biktarvy dose when you remember. If you notice 18 hours or more after the time you usually take, you should skip the missed dose and take the next dose at your usual time. Do not chew, crush, or split the tablet.
If you vomit in less than 1 hour after taking Biktarvy, take another tablet. If you vomit after 1 hour of consumption, you should not take another tablet; follow the regular dosing schedule.
What are the ingredients in Biktarvy?
Biktarvy is a tablet that contains three active ingredients bictegravir 50 mg, emtricitabine 200 mg, and Tenofovir alafenamide 25 mg.
The constituents of the medicine work by blocking the enzymes required by the virus, known as called integrase and reverse transcriptase. Biktarvy reduces the virus’s ability to infect other cells and make copies of itself.
- Bictegravir is an antiviral medication (medicine that combats viruses) belonging to the integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) class of drugs.
- Emtricitabine is an antiviral medication that belongs to the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) class of drugs.
- Alafenamide is also an antiviral drug that belongs to the nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI) class of drugs.
- Emtricitabine and Alafenamide interfere with DNA polymerase (an enzyme) activities of the virus, which is essential for viral multiplication, thus inhibiting viral replication.
How To Store And Dispose Of Biktarvy?
- Store the blister pack between 15 °C to 30 °C. Store in original blister package.
- If dispensed in a bottle, store the bottle below 30 °C. Please protect it from sunlight and moisture. Keep the bottle tightly closed. Do not use the bottle if the seal over the bottle is damaged or missing.
What Are The Side Effects Of Biktarvy?
Like all the medications, Biktarvy also has side effects. Inform your physician if these symptoms are severe or if they do not go away.
Common side effects include:
- Abnormal dreams
Uncommon side effects include:
- Stomach pain
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Sleep disorders
- Joint pain
- Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts (more common in patients having depression or mental health problems)
Rare side effects include:
- Watery eyes or red, painful eyes
- Blisters in your skin, genitals, mouth, or nose
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Other possible side effects may also include:
- Autoimmune disorders mainly occur during the initial phase of the treatment. Symptoms include muscle weakness, hyperactivity, tremors, palpitations.
- Infection or inflammation, if you notice any signs or symptoms of infection or inflammation, please inform your doctor immediately.
- Bone problems have been experienced in patients who are on Biktarvy. Biktarvy may cause osteonecrosis (death of bone tissue caused by loss of blood supply to the bone). Signs of osteonecrosis are difficulty in movements, joint stiffness, joint pain, and joint aches (hips, knee, and shoulder).
This is not a complete list. If you experience severe side effects or symptoms that are persistent, please get in touch with your doctor immediately.
What Are The Most Important Contraindications When On Biktarvy?
Tell your physician or pharmacist about it if you are allergic to bictegravir, emtricitabine, or tenofovir. If you have any allergies, do not forget to share the same with the health care professional.
Do not take or inform your doctor if you have or had following conditions:
- History of liver diseases or problems (including hepatitis, cirrhosis)
- Alcohol usage
- Kidney disease
- Lactic acidosis
- If you are on dialysis, make sure you consume your daily dose after completion of dialysis
Do not give medication to children and adolescents under 18 years of age and adults aged 65 and above.
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you are thinking of getting pregnant. You must also inform if you get pregnant while you are on treatment. Your doctor will discuss the potential benefits and risks of the treatment.
You can still pass the HIV while taking the treatment, though the risk is lowered with effective antiretroviral therapy. It is best to discuss the precautions that you need to take to avoid infecting other people.
What Are The Warnings And Precautions Of Biktarvy?
Inform your health worker about other prescription, non-prescription medications, and nutritional supplements that you are taking. Also, inform about vitamins and herbal supplements that you are taking or planning to take.
During pregnancy, this medication should only be used if it is needed. Treatment with the drug may lower the risk of passing HIV infection to the baby. Discuss the risk and benefits with your treating physician.
The effects with regards to medication for a breastfeeding woman are not known. However, the HIV can be transmitted via breast milk, so do not breastfeed your child.
Biktarvy may cause dizziness. If you are on Biktarvy, do not drive or use any machinery or tools.
What Are The Most Important Interactions Of Biktarvy?
Biktarvy may interact with any of the following medications or inform your doctor if you are taking any of the below-mentioned medication:
- St. John’s wort (an herbal remedy for anxiety and depression)
- Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium hydroxide
- Mineral supplements or vitamins containing iron or magnesium
The list is not comprehensive, and other drugs may interact with Biktarvy. You should mention all the medications that you are taking and consult your doctor before starting the medication.
Can I take Oral Contraceptive Pills While Taking Biktarvy?
Biktarvy usually does not interfere with the functioning of hormonal pills. However, it is best to consult your doctor to know the best option for you.
When can I Take Biktarvy?
Biktarvy can be taken any time of the day. It would help if you consumed it at a fixed time so that remembering it becomes easy.
Is There A Generic Version to Biktarvy?
No. For now, there is no therapeutically equivalent version of Biktarvy available in Canada.
How Is Biktarvy Different from Others In The Treatment Of Ailment?
Biktarvy is available as a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day medicine. As you have to take a single medicine, it makes it easy to take and track its use.
Who Makes Biktarvy and What Is Their Manufacturing Record of Success?
Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company, has come up with Biktarvy. They mainly focus on researching and developing antiviral drugs to treat HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and influenza.