What are the most important things to know about emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include a buildup ofin the blood ( ) and problems.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis:
- Weakness or tiredness
- Unusual muscle pain
- Shortness of breath or fast breathing
- Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
- Cold or blue hands and feet
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fast or abnormal heartbeat
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes ( )
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored bowel movements
- Loss of appetite for several days or longer
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach/abdominal area
If you have both HIV and(HBV) and take emtricitabine, your HBV infection may get much worse (flare up) if you stop taking emtricitabine. Do not stop taking emtricitabine without first talking with your health care provider.
While taking emtricitabine, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What is emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine (brand name: Emtriva) is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S.(FDA) for the treatment of HIV in adults, children, and infants. Emtricitabine is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.
For more information on the use of emtricitabine in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.
HIV medicines cannot cure HIV/AIDS, but taking HIV medicines every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV. If you are taking HIV medicines, do not cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.
Emtricitabine is also effective against
What should I tell my health care provider before taking emtricitabine?
Before taking emtricitabine, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to emtricitabine or any other medicines.
- If you have problems, including (HBV).
- If you have problems or receive kidney dialysis treatment.
- If you have any other medical conditions.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking emtricitabine during pregnancy. For more information on the use of emtricitabine during pregnancy, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed viral load have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- If you are using HIV and Birth Control infographic. -based birth control (such as pills, , or vaginal rings). For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the HIVinfo
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Emtricitabine may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how emtricitabine works. Taking emtricitabine together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.
How should I take emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine comes in the following forms and strengths:
- 200-mg capsules
- 10-mg/mL oral solution
Take emtricitabine according to your health care provider’s instructions. Do not miss aof emtricitabine, and do not change your dose or stop taking emtricitabine without first talking with your health care provider.
Take emtricitabine by mouth, with or without food.
Always take emtricitabine in combination with other HIV medicines.
If you have taken too much emtricitabine, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
For more information on how to take emtricitabine, see the FDA drug label.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss aof emtricitabine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can emtricitabine cause?
Emtricitabine may cause side effects. Some side effects of emtricitabine can be serious as noted above. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the HIVinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.
Other possible side effects of emtricitabine include:
- Changes in your (called or IRIS). IRIS is a condition that sometimes occurs when the immune system begins to recover after treatment with an HIV medicine. As the immune system gets stronger, it may have an increased response to a previously hidden infection.
- Skin discoloration.
Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of emtricitabine. To learn more about possible side effects of emtricitabine, read the drug label or or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.
You can report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.
How should emtricitabine be stored?
- Store emtricitabine capsules at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
- Store emtricitabine oral solution in a refrigerator, 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). You may also store the oral solution at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C), for up to 3 months. If you store emtricitabine oral solution at room temperature, throw away any unused solution after 3 months.
- Do not freeze emtricitabine oral solution.
- Keep emtricitabine in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
- Do not use emtricitabine if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
- Throw away emtricitabine that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep emtricitabine and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about emtricitabine?
- For more information on the use of emtricitabine in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.
- Recommendations on the use of emtricitabine in people with HIV and HBV, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Capsule, solution. The Patient Package Insert includes information for people taking emtricitabine.
- Emtricitabine-related research studies, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests. To learn more about the ClinicalTrials.gov search features, please see How to Search.)
- A list of FDA-approved HIV medicines, from HIVinfo
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Last Reviewed: December 13, 2022