- Hepatitis B has gotten worse when Descovy was stopped in some people with hepatitis B. Close follow-up for a few months is needed when therapy is stopped in people who have hepatitis B. Do not stop taking Descovy without calling your doctor.
- Descovy is not approved to treat hepatitis B. Hepatitis B testing needs to be done before taking this medicine.
What is Descovy:
- Descovy contains a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. Emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide are antiviral medicines that prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.
- Descovy is a presciption medicine used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- Descovy is also used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV-1 infection.
What do I need to tell my doctor before I take Descovy?
- If you have an allergy to emtricitabine, tenofovir, or any other part of Descovy (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have kidney disease.
- If you are taking another drug that has the same drug in it.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine, St. John's wort, or tipranavir plus ritonavir.
- If you are taking any drugs that can raise the chance of kidney problems. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take Descovy.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Descovy with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Descovy?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Descovy. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Have your urine checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- Descovy is not a cure for HIV. Stay under the care of your doctor.
- Descovy may rarely cause swollen liver and an acid health problem in the blood. This may be deadly in some cases. The chance may be higher in women, in overweight people, and in people who have taken drugs like this one for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using Descovy while you are pregnant.
How is Descovy best taken?
Use Descovy as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food.
- Keep taking Descovy as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- It is important that you do not miss or skip a dose of Descovy during treatment.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.
What Descovy side effects do I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of too much lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis) like fast breathing, fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad upset stomach or throwing up, feeling very sleepy, shortness of breath, feeling very tired or weak, very bad dizziness, feeling cold, or muscle pain or cramps.
- Changes in your immune system can happen when you start taking drugs to treat HIV. If you have an infection that you did not know you had, it may show up when you take Descovy. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new signs after you start Descovy, even after taking it for several months. This includes signs of infection like fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath.
What are some other side effects of Descovy?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Descovy?
- Store in the original container at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Descovy, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Frequently asked questions
- Can Descovy be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in HIV?
- Truvada vs Descovy: How do they compare for HIV and PrEP?
- What is the difference between Biktarvy and Descovy?
More about Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- 8 Reviews
- Drug class: antiviral combinations
- FDA Approval History
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.