Generic Name: emtricitabine (em trye SYE ta been)
Brand Name: Emtriva
What is emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.
Emtricitabine is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Emtricitabine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Emtricitabine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine should not be taken together with any HIV combination medicine that contains emtricitabine or lamivudine. This includes: Atripla, Combivir, Complera, Epivir, Epzicom, Stribild, Trizivir, and Truvada.
Emtricitabine 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.
Emtricitabine may also cause severe liver damage, which can be fatal. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms of liver problems: nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking emtricitabine?
You should not take emtricitabine if you are allergic to it.
Emtricitabine should not be taken together with any HIV combination medicine that contains emtricitabine or lamivudine. This includes:
Atripla (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir);
Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine);
Complera (rilpivirine, emtricitabine, and tenofovir);
Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine);
Stribild (cobicistat, elvitegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir);
Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine); and
Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir).
To make sure emtricitabine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
liver disease (especially hepatitis B if you also have HIV);
kidney disease; or
if you have used a medicine similar to emtricitabine in the past, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), lamivudine (Epivir, Combivir, Epzicom, Trizivir), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), or emtricitabine combinations (Atripla, Complera, Truvada).
Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking emtricitabine. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, if you are a woman, or if you have taken HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.
FDA pregnancy category B. Emtricitabine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. However, 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.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of emtricitabine on the baby.
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.
How should I take emtricitabine?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Emtricitabine can be taken with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
If a child is taking this medication, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Emtricitabine doses are based on weight in children.
While using emtricitabine , you may need frequent blood tests. Your kidney and liver function may also need to be checked.
Do not take emtricitabine as your only HIV medication. 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.
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 emtricitabine.
Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Your disease may become resistant to emtricitabine if you stop taking the medication even for a short time.
Store emtricitabine capsules at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and direct light.
Store emtricitabine liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
You may store the liquid at room temperature, but you must use it within 3 months.
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?
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.
Emtricitabine 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, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.
Call your doctor at once if you have nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Emtricitabine 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. 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:
headache, mild dizziness, strange dreams;
mild diarrhea, mild nausea, upset stomach;
darkened patches of skin on your palms and/or soles;
mild skin rash; or
change in the shape or location of body fat (especially in the arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).
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 emtricitabine?
Other drugs may interact with emtricitabine, 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 Emtriva (emtricitabine)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about emtricitabine.
- 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: 6.03.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: September 13, 2016