Generic name: emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir (oral route) [ em-trye-SYE-ta-been, ril-pi-VIR-een-hye-droe-KLOR-ide, ten-OF-oh-vir-dye-soe-PROX-il-FUE-ma-rate ]
Drug class: Antiviral combinations
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 12, 2022.
The emtricitabine, rilpivirine hydrochloride, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate combination is not approved for treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, and patients infected with both HIV-1 and HBV have reported severe exacerbations of HBV after discontinuing emtricitabine or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Closely monitor hepatic function and initiate anti-hepatitis B therapy if necessary .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiretroviral Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor
Uses for Complera
Emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir combination is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine is usually given to patients who have not received any HIV treatment in the past or to replace their current antiviral medicines provided that they meet certain requirements.
This medicine will not cure HIV infection or AIDS. It works by lowering the amount of HIV in the blood and it will also help your immune system. This may help delay some of the medical conditions that usually result from AIDS or HIV disease. It will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using Complera
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir combination in children weighing less than 35 kilograms. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir combination in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir combination.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- St John's Wort
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aluminum Carbonate, Basic
- Aluminum Hydroxide
- Aluminum Phosphate
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Calcium Carbonate
- Choline Salicylate
- Dihydroxyaluminum Aminoacetate
- Dihydroxyaluminum Sodium Carbonate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Magnesium Carbonate
- Magnesium Hydroxide
- Magnesium Oxide
- Magnesium Trisilicate
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bone fracture, history of or
- Depression, history of or
- Fanconi syndrome (kidney disease), history of or
- Heart rhythm problems (eg, QT prolongation) or
- Hepatitis B or C infection, history of or
- Kidney failure, history of or
- Osteomalacia (soft bones), history of or
- Osteoporosis (weak or brittle bones), history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Kidney disease, moderate or severe—Use is not recommended in patients with this condition.
Proper use of Complera
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better. Do not stop taking it without checking first with your doctor. When your supply of the medicine is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of the medicine.
It is best to take this medicine with food.
If you are taking antacids that contain aluminum, magnesium, or calcium, take the antacid at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after this medicine.
If you are taking a stomach medicine for heartburn or ulcers, such as cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine, Axid®, Pepcid®, or Tagamet®), take the heartburn medicine at least 12 hours before or 4 hours after this medicine.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For treatment of HIV infection:
- Adults and children weighing 35 kilograms (kg) or more—1 tablet once a day with food. Each tablet contains 200 milligrams (mg) emtricitabine, 25 mg rilpivirine, and 300 mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.
- Children weighing less than 35 kg—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For treatment of HIV infection:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Wait until your next regularly scheduled dose if it has been more than 12 hours since you missed your last dose.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep the bottle tightly closed. Keep the medicine in the original bottle that you were given at the pharmacy.
Precautions while using Complera
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
This medicine does not decrease the risk of transmitting HIV infection to others through sexual contact or by contamination through blood. HIV may be acquired from or spread to others through infected body fluids, including blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. If you are infected, it is best to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, always wear (or have your partner wear) a condom (“rubber”). Only use condoms made of latex or polyurethane and use them every time you have contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Also, do not share needles or equipment with anyone or use dirty needles. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
This medicine should not be used together with adefovir (Hepsera®), dexamethasone (Decadron®), lamivudine (Combivir®, Epivir®, Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Triumeq®, Trizivir®), certain seizure medicines (eg, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, Dilantin®, Tegretol®, Trileptal®), medicines for tuberculosis (eg, rifampin, rifapentine, Priftin®, Rifadin®, Rimactane®), certain stomach medicines (eg, dexlansoprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, Aciphex®, Dexilant®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec®), or St. John's wort.
The medicines in this combination tablet are also available as Atripla®, Descovy®, Edurant®, Emtriva®, Genvoya®, Odefsey®, Stribild®, Truvada®, Vemlidy®, and Viread®. Do not take the emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir combination with any of these medicines.
This medicine may cause a rare, but serious, unwanted effect called lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood). Call your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal or stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fast, shallow breathing, general feeling of discomfort, muscle pain or cramping, nausea, sleepiness, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
This medicine may cause rare, but serious, liver problems. This may occur in patients with a history of hepatitis B infection. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: clay-colored stools, dark urine, decreased appetite, fever, headache, itching, nausea and vomiting, skin rash, stomach pain or tenderness, swelling of the feet or lower legs, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin.
Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills with this medicine.
This medicine may cause serious types of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS syndrome). Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, hoarseness, lightheadedness or dizziness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth with this medicine.
Tell your doctor right away if you or your child start to feel depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behavior that troubles you, especially if they are new or get worse quickly.
This medicine may cause your bones to get weak and brittle. This could increase your risk for broken bones (fractures). Ask your doctor about this if you have any concerns.
Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis. Autoimmune disorders such as Graves disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome may also occur.
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you or your child are taking this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Complera side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- feeling sad or empty
- lack of appetite
- loss of interest or pleasure
- mental depression
- thoughts of killing oneself
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
- Body aches or pain
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- chest pain
- difficulty with breathing
- ear congestion
- loss of voice
- runny or stuffy nose
- sore throat
- tightness in the chest
- unsteadiness or awkwardness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
Incidence not known
- bloody or cloudy urine
- bone pain
- dark urine
- decreased appetite
- decreased urination
- difficulty swallowing
- dry mouth
- fast heartbeat
- fast, shallow breathing
- frequent urination
- increased thirst
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
- light-colored stools
- muscle pain or cramps
- muscle tenderness, wasting, or weakness
- pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- rapid weight gain
- skin rash, hives, itching
- stomach discomfort
- swelling of the face, ankles, hands, feet, or lower legs
- unusual drowsiness, dullness, or feeling of sluggishness
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abnormal dreams
- Back pain
- difficulty with moving
- pain in the joints
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- stomach discomfort or upset
Incidence not known
- Lack or loss of strength
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
More about Complera (emtricitabine / rilpivirine / tenofovir)
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- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
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- En español
- Drug class: antiviral combinations
- FDA approval history
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