Generic Name: emtricitabine and tenofovir (EM trye SYE ta been and ten OF oh vir )
Brand Names: AccessPak for HIV PEP Basic, Descovy, Truvada
What is Descovy?
Descovy contains a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir. Emtricitabine and tenofovir are antiviral drugs that work by preventing HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) cells from multiplying in the body.
Descovy is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine 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 may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not take Descovy if you also take other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, lamivudine, or adefovir.
Descovy may cause a serious condition called lactic acidosis. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.
If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking Descovy, even months after stopping.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Descovy if you are allergic to emtricitabine or tenofovir. 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).
Do not take Descovy to reduce infection risk if you are HIV-positive, if have been exposed to HIV within the past month, or if you had any symptoms (such as fever, night sweats, swollen glands, diarrhea, body aches).
To make sure Descovy is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease;
osteopenia (low bone mineral density); or
if you also have hepatitis B infection.
Some people taking Descovy develop a serious condition called lactic acidosis. This may be more likely in women, in people who are overweight or have liver disease, and in people who have taken HIV/AIDS medication for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your risk.
HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.
You should not breast-feed while you are using Descovy to treat or prevent 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.
Descovy is not approved for anyone younger than 12 years old. The child receiving this medicine must weigh at least 37 pounds.
How should I take Descovy?
Take Descovy exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take Descovy one time per day with or without food. Do not miss a dose,
Use this medicine regularly to get the most benefit.
While using Descovy, you may need frequent blood tests. Your kidney and liver function, or bone mineral density may also need to be checked.
If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using Descovy.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.
When your Descovy supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. This is very important because the amount of virus in your blood may increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short time. The virus may develop resistance to Descovy and become harder to treat.
Store in the original container at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
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?
Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. 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; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Early symptoms of lactic acidosis may get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
sudden or unusual bone pain;
kidney problems - little or no urination, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Descovy may increase your risk of certain infections or autoimmune disorders by changing the way your immune system works. Symptoms may occur weeks or months after you start treatment with Descovy. Tell your doctor if you have:
signs of a new infection - fever, night sweats, swollen glands, mouth sores, diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss;
chest pain (especially when you breathe), dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
cold sores, sores on your genital or anal area;
rapid heart rate, feeling anxious or irritable, weakness or prickly feeling, problems with balance or eye movement;
trouble speaking or swallowing, severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control; or
swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex.
Common Descovy side effects may include:
headache, dizziness, feeling depressed or tired;
sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;
changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Descovy?
Descovy can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines, including: antivirals, chemotherapy, injected antibiotics, medicine for bowel disorders, medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection, injectable osteoporosis medications, and some pain or arthritis medicines (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).
Other drugs may interact with emtricitabine and tenofovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Descovy.
- 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.
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