Generic Name: emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide (EM trye SYE ta been and ten OF oh vir)
Brand Names: Descovy
Medically reviewed on Sep 10, 2018
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 used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Descovy is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, but it can be used to treat HIV in adults and children who are at least 12 years old and weigh at least 17 kilograms (37 pounds).
Descovy is also used in children who weigh between 55 and 77 pounds (25 to 35 kilograms) and who take certain other HIV medications.
Do not take Descovy if you also take other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, lamivudine, or adefovir.
You may develop lactic acidosis, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in your blood. Call your doctor or get emergency medical help if you have unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, dizziness, feeling cold, or feeling very weak or tired.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Descovy if you are allergic to emtricitabine or tenofovir alafenamide. Do not take if you also use other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, lamivudine, or adefovir (such as Atripla, Combivir, Complera, Dutrebis, Emtriva, Epivir, Epzicom, Genvoya, Hepsera, Odefsey, Stribild, Triumeq, Trizivir, or Viread).
To make sure Descovy is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
liver disease (you may be tested for hepatitis B before you can use this medicine);
osteopenia (low bone mineral density); or
You may develop lactic acidosis, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in your blood. This may be more likely if you have other medical conditions, if you've taken HIV medication for a long time, or if you are a woman. Ask your doctor about your risk.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, and use your medications properly to control your infection. HIV can be passed to your baby if the virus is not controlled during pregnancy. Your name may be listed on a registry to track any effects of antiviral medicine on the baby.
You should not breast-feed while you are using Descovy to treat HIV. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.
It is not known if Descovy is safe and effective in children who weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg).
How should I take Descovy?
Take Descovy exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.
You may take this medicine with or without food.
Use all HIV medications as directed and read all medication guides you receive. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV should remain under the care of a doctor.
You will need frequent medical tests to check your kidney and liver function, or your bone mineral density.
Store Descovy in the original container at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
If you've ever had hepatitis B, this virus may become active or get worse in the months after you stop using Descovy. You may need frequent liver function tests while using this medicine and for several months after your last dose.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skipping doses may increase the risk of your virus becoming resistant to antiviral medicine. Try not to miss any doses.
Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Descovy?
Using Descovy will not prevent your disease from spreading. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
Descovy side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Descovy: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Mild symptoms of lactic acidosis may worsen over time, and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have: unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, irregular heart rate, dizziness, feeling cold, or feeling very weak or tired.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
symptoms of new HIV infection - fever, night sweats, tiredness, muscle or joint pain, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swollen glands in your neck or groin;
sudden or unusual bone pain;
kidney problems - little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
Emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine). Tell your doctor if you have:
trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or
swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.
Common Descovy side effects may include:
headache, dizziness, feeling depressed or tired;
trouble sleeping, strange dreams;
nausea, stomach pain;
weight loss; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Descovy?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Descovy can harm your kidneys, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, or pain or arthritis (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).
Other drugs may interact with emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Descovy only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2019 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 13.01.
More about Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide)
- Descovy Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- 4 Reviews
- Drug class: antiviral combinations