Skip to Content

emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir

Generic Name: emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir (em trye SYE ta been, nel FIN a veer, ten OF oh vir)
Brand Name: AccessPak for HIV PEP Expanded with Viracept

What is emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir?

Emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir are antiviral drugs that prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.

Emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir is a combination medicine used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

This medicine may also be used together with safer-sex practices to reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV. You must be HIV-negative and an adult to use the medicine for this purpose. Emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir?

You should not take this medicine if you have severe liver or kidney disease. Do not take if you also use other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, or lamivudine.

This medicine is sometimes used to reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV. You must be HIV-negative to use emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir for this purpose.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact with emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir, and some drugs should not be used together.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir?

You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to emtricitabine, nelfinavir, or tenofovir, or if you have severe liver or kidney disease. Do not take if you also use other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, or lamivudine (such as Atripla, Combivir, Complera, Descovy, Dutrebis, Emtriva, Epivir, Epzicom, Genvoya, Odefsey, Stribild, Triumeq, Trizivir, or Viread).

Do not take this medicine to reduce infection risk if you are HIV-positive, if you have been exposed to HIV within the past month, or if you had any symptoms (such as fever, sore throat, night sweats, swollen glands, diarrhea, body aches).

If you take this medicine to reduce your risk of HIV infection: You must have a negative HIV test immediately before you start taking the medicine. An HIV test is also required every 3 months during treatment.

Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:

  • alfuzosin;

  • pimozide;

  • rifampin;

  • sildenafil (Revatio for pulmonary arterial hypertension);

  • St. John's wort;

  • lovastatin or simvastatin;

  • dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergonovine, or methylergonovine;

  • amiodarone or quinidine; or

  • oral midazolam, or triazolam.

To make sure emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder such as hemophilia;

  • liver or kidney disease; or

  • hepatitis B infection.

Some people taking emtricitabine or tenofovir 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.

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.

This medicine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 2 years old.

How should I take emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

This medicine works best if you take it with food.

While using this medicine, you may need frequent blood tests. Your kidney and liver function may also need to be checked.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the 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.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the tablets in their original container, along with the packet or canister of moisture-absorbing preservative.

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medicine. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using this medicine.

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 emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir?

If you also take didanosine, take it 1 hour before or 2 hours after you take emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir.

Taking this medicine 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.

Emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult 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, slow or irregular heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • 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, swelling around your midsection, upper stomach pain, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Emtricitabine and tenofovir 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 emtricitabine and tenofovir. 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 side effects may include:

  • stomach pain;

  • headache, dizziness, feeling depressed or tired;

  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;

  • rash;

  • weight loss; or

  • 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.

Side Effects (complete list)

What other drugs will affect emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir?

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.

Many drugs can interact with emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • antiviral medicine to treat hepatitis C--ledipasvir, sofosbuvir, velpatasvir;

  • other HIV medications--atazanavir, darunavir, didanosine, lopinavir, ritonavir; or

  • some pain or arthritis medicines--aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about emtricitabine, nelfinavir, and tenofovir.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01.

Date modified: November 15, 2017
Last reviewed: October 02, 2017

Hide