Medically reviewed on August 9, 2018
What is tenofovir?
Tenofovir is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Tenofovir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Tenofovir is also used to treat chronic hepatitis B.
Tenofovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
If you have hepatitis B, it may become active or get worse after you stop using tenofovir. You may need frequent liver function tests for several months.
Do not stop using tenofovir without first talking to your doctor.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take tenofovir if you are allergic to it.
Do not take tenofovir together with adefovir (Hepsera), or with combination medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla, Biktarvy, Cimduo, Complera, Descovy, Genvoya, Odefsey, Stribild, Symfi, or Truvada).
Tenofovir should not be given to a child with HIV who is younger than 2 years old. Tenofovir should not be used to treat hepatitis B in a child younger than 12 years old.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
liver disease (especially hepatitis B if you also have HIV);
kidney disease; or
low bone mineral density.
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.
It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk. 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 tenofovir?
Before you start treatment with tenofovir, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have HIV (if you are being treated for hepatitis B) or hepatitis B (if you are being treated for HIV).
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Take this medicine at the same time each day.
Some forms of tenofovir should be taken with food. Carefully follow all instructions on your medicine label.
Tenofovir oral powder should be mixed with soft food such as applesauce, yogurt, or baby food. Do not mix the oral powder with liquid.
Tenofovir doses are based on weight in children. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.
You will need frequent medical tests.
Do not stop using tenofovir without first talking to your doctor.
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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
If you have hepatitis B, this virus may become active or get worse in the months after you stop using tenofovir. 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 medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
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 tenofovir?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.
Using this medicine 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.
Tenofovir side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty 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:
sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or unusual bleeding;
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--swelling around your midsection, upper stomach pain, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Tenofovir 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 side effects may include:
stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
fever, pain, cough;
weakness, dizziness, feeling tired;
sleep problems (insomnia);
itching or rash; 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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect tenofovir?
Tenofovir 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).
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
sofosbuvir and velpatasvir or voxilaprevir.
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.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 12.02.
More about tenofovir
- Tenofovir Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
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