What is Truvada?
Truvada is a prescription medication that contains two ingredients tenofovir and emtricitabine. It is an antiretroviral drug that is used to treat HIV infection.
It is also used to control/prevent HIV infection in people at a high risk of getting HIV. When the treatment is given to a person before being exposed to HIV, it is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Truvada is often prescribed in combination with other medications to treat HIV in adults and children who weigh at least 17 kgs (37 pounds).
Let us understand more about the medication, including its uses, side effects, and precautions to be followed.
How to use Truvada?
What are the approved label uses of Truvada?
- Truvada is FDA-approved for treating HIV infection in both adults and children. It is often used with anti-HIV drugs to treat HIV infection. For treatment of HIV, it should be prescribed to individuals who weigh at least 17 kgs (37 pounds)
- Truvada is also FDA approved for preventing HIV in people who are at high risk of getting HIV. When a person is administered Truvada before exposure, the treatment is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). It should be prescribed in high-risk individuals who weigh at least 35 kgs (77 pounds)
What are some off-label uses of Truvada?
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 Truvada?
The following instructions should be followed while consuming Truvada:
- Do not stop taking the medication without consulting with your doctor. Follow the instructions on the prescription label and ask your physician if you have any queries regarding the dosing.
- Truvada is available as a tablet that is to be taken orally. It can be taken with food or without food.
- It is to be taken once a day. Take the medication at the same time every day.
- Take this medication regularly to get the maximum response to the treatment. Do not stop the treatment even if you feel well.
- Your doctor may prescribe you calcium and Vitamin D supplements while on treatment with Truvada. You should take these supplements as directed by your physician.
- If Truvada is prescribed to a child, swallow the tablet. Do not crush it. Inform your doctor if your child is unable to swallow the tablets.
If you miss your dose, take the dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.
What are the ingredients in Truvada?
Truvada is a tablet that contains two ingredients Emtricitabine (200 mg) and Tenofovir (300 mg).
Both ingredients of the medication belong to the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) class of drugs.
They mainly act by slowing the spread of HIV in the body. Although Truvada does not cure HIV, it can decrease the chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illness.
How to store and dispose of Truvada?
- Truvada can be stored at room temperature between 15°C to 30°C
- Dispense only in original container
- Keep it away from sunlight
- Keep the container tightly closed
- Keep it away from moisture
Keep the medication out of sight and reach of children as the original container is not child-resistant.
Unused, unneeded, or expired medication should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that children, pets, and other people do not consume them. You should not flush the medication in the toilet. The best way to dispose of drugs is through a medication take-back program. Talk to your healthcare professional to learn more about the take-back program.
What are the side effects of Truvada?
Like all the medications, Truvada also has side effects. It is possible that you may not experience any side effects or may experience minor side effects. If you experience the following side effects. Inform your physician if these symptoms are severe or if they do not go away.
- Weight loss
- Unusual dreams
- Pain, burning in hands or feet
- Difficulty in falling asleep or staying awake
Some of the side effects can be serious. You must call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the below-mentioned symptoms:
- Bone pain
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain accompanied with nausea and vomiting
- Swelling of face, throat, eyes, lips, ankles, feet, hands, or lower legs
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual bruising
- Flu-like symptoms
- Irregular heartbeat
- Cold arms or legs
- Dark or yellow-colored urine
- Decreased urination
- Yellowing of eyes or skin
Truvada may cause other side effects. Call your physician if you experience any unusual problems while on this medication.
What are the most important contraindications when on Truvada?
Tell your physician or pharmacist about it if you are allergic to Truvada. If you have any other 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:
- Bone problems such as osteoporosis (a condition of the bone where they become thin, weak, and can break easily)
- Bone fractures
- Any infection that does not go away or that comes and goes
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you are thinking of getting pregnant. If you get pregnant while on treatment with Truvada, inform your physician immediately. Lastly, you should not breastfeed if you are HIV infected or if you are taking Truvada.
What are the warnings and precautions of Truvada?
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.
Before having surgery, inform your doctor or dentist about all the medications you use.
Drinking alcohol while on treatment with Truvada may increase the risk of some side effects, and drinking too much alcohol while on treatment with the medication may increase the risk of liver or kidney problems.
Hepatitis B virus infection can worsen in people who have active HBV and if they stop taking Truvada. Your physician may ask you to do a blood test to determine your liver health from time to time for several months after you stop the treatment.
What are the most important interactions of Truvada?
Truvada may interact with certain supplements, so inform your healthcare worker about all the supplements you are taking or intend to take. It also interacts with grapefruit juice.
Truvada may interact with any of the following medications or inform your doctor if you are taking any of the below-mentioned medication:
- Other medications for HIV or AIDS
The list mentioned above is not comprehensive, and other drugs may interact with Truvada. 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 Truvada?
Yes, you can use oral contraceptive pills while taking Truvada. However, it would be best if you inform your physician before taking any contraceptive pill. Moreover, you can ask your physician which contraceptive method will suit you the best before starting the treatment.
When can I Take Truvada?
Truvada 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. Truvada can be taken with or without food. Taking Truvada with food may help to decrease the stomach upset that may be caused by it.
Is There A Generic Version to Truvada?
Yes. A therapeutically equivalent version of Truvada available in Canada, it is manufactured by Apotex Inc.
How Is Truvada Different from Others In The Treatment Of Ailment?
Truvada and Descovy are prescribed for similar uses. They do many similarities and some differences. Both the medications are FDA-approved for treating HIV infection when used with other antiviral drugs.
Truvada is approved for preventing HIV in people who are at high risk of getting HIV, i.e., pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Truvada and Descovy both contain tenofovir and emtricitabine. But tenofovir is available in different forms, i.e., Truvada contains (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), and Descovy contains (tenofovir alafenamide). These drugs have slightly different effects on the body.
Research shows Descovy is less likely to cause kidney damage than Truvada.
Who Makes Truvada and What Is Their Manufacturing Record of Success?
Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company, has come up with Truvada. They mainly focus their research and development of drugs to treat HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and influenza.