Medically reviewed on July 11, 2017
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 ever had hepatitis B, tenofovir can cause this condition to come back or get worse. You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function.
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.
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.
To make sure tenofovir is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease (especially hepatitis B if you also have HIV);
kidney disease; or
low bone mineral density.
Some people taking 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.
This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby, but 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 tenofovir on the baby.
Tenofovir can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using tenofovir to treat hepatitis B. 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. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
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.
If a child is taking this medication, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Tenofovir doses are based on weight in children.
While using tenofovir, you may need frequent blood tests. Your liver and kidney function may also need to be checked.
Use tenofovir regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Do not stop using tenofovir without first talking to your doctor.
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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
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 tenofovir. Visit your doctor regularly.
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 tenofovir?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.
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.
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.
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:
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 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 tenofovir. Tell your doctor if you have:
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, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
fever, pain, cough;
weakness, dizziness, feeling tired;
headache, back pain;
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. 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, and some pain or arthritis medicines (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with tenofovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 11.01.
More about tenofovir
- Tenofovir Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
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