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What is the difference between Biktarvy and Descovy?

Medically reviewed by Judith Stewart, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 16, 2021.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

The difference between Biktarvy (bictegravir, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) and Descovy (emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide) is that Biktarvy contains an extra active ingredient called bictegravir. Both Biktarvy and Descovy are used in the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Descovy is also used for HIV-1 Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

Bictegravir is classified as an integrase strand transfer inhibitor and works by blocking the action of integrase, a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enzyme that promotes viral replication. Emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide are nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) that block the action of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that promotes the formation of DNA from RNA.

Biktarvy Descovy
FDA Approved February 7, 2018 April 4, 2016
How Supplied Each tablet contains:
  • bictegravir 50 mg
  • emtricitabine 200 mg
  • tenofovir alafenamide 25 mg
Each tablet contains:
  • emtricitabine 200 mg
  • tenofovir alafenamide 25 mg
Indications HIV-1 Treatment
  • adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kg
  • used as a complete regimen
HIV-1 Treatment
  • adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kg
  • used in combination with other antiretroviral agents

HIV-1 Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

  • at-risk HIV-negative men and transgender women weighing at least 35 kg

Biktarvy Indication

Biktarvy is indicated as a complete regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kg who have no antiretroviral treatment history or to replace the current antiretroviral regimen in those who are virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies per mL) on a stable antiretroviral regimen with no history of treatment failure and no known substitutions associated with resistance to the individual components of Biktarvy.

Descovy Indication

Descovy is indicated:

  • in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 35 kg.
  • in combination with other antiretroviral agents other than protease inhibitors that require a CYP3A inhibitor for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kg and less than 35 kg.

Descovy is also indicated in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kg for pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV-1 infection from sexual acquisition, excluding individuals at risk from receptive vaginal sex (effectiveness in this population has not been evaluated).

Biktarvy and Descovy are both manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc.

References
  • Food and Drug Administration. BIKTARVY® Product Label. Available at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/210251s007lbl.pdf [Accessed February 16, 2021]
  • Food and Drug Administration. DESCOVY Product Label. Available at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/208215s011lbl.pdf [Accessed February 16, 2021]

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