Biktarvy is a complete Human Immune Virus (HIV)-1 treatment drug containing three antiviral medicines: Bictegravir, Emtricitabine, and Tenofovir Alafenamide. It prevents HIV from multiplying in your body and lowers the HIV blood levels, which prevents Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as cancer or serious infections from developing in your body.

HIV-1 is the virus responsible for the development of AIDS in the body.

Bictegravir comes from a group of medications named Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors (INSTIs), whereas Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide are categorized as Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs). These medication works as a united to stop the HIV virus from multiplying.

The drugs interfere with enzymes required by HIV called “Integrase” and Reverse Transcriptase. This hinders the virus’ ability to make copies of it and infect cells.

Precautions and Warnings with Biktarvy

The doctor will test you for Hepatitis B before starting treatment with Biktarvy. The condition could get worse if you take medicine while having the virus, as you could suffer a “flare-up.”

The patient is not recommended to stop taking the medicine without first consulting with their doctor. Your healthcare provider will assess your health, do blood tests regularly, and prescribe medication accordingly if you have run out of it.

Inform your doctor if you have or ever had:

  • Liver disease
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Kidney disease

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is important to let your doctor know if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while being treated with Biktarvy. Women can get themselves registered at the “pregnancy registry.” The aim of the registry is to collect information about your and your baby’s health.

Similarly, you should inform the doctor if they are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed while taking Biktarvy. The medicine can be passed on to your baby via breast milk. Discuss the following risks to your baby from breastfeeding during treatment with the medicine:

  • The HIV-1 virus passes on to your baby if it is uninfected.
  • The HIV-1 virus becoming harder to treat if your baby has the infection.
  • Your baby may get side effects from Biktarvy.

Biktarvy Side Effects

The side effects could be temporary and last for a few days or weeks; however, if they become severe or last longer, then talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Biktarvy has these side effects:

Common Side Effects

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Serious Side Effects

  • Muscle pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Breathing fast
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-coloured stool
  • Yellowing of your skin and eyes
  • Swelling of legs and feet
  • Bloody or foamy in urine
  • Difficulty urinating

Rare Side Effects

  • Strange dreams
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Vomiting
  • Passing gas
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash
  • Depression

Drug Interactions With Biktarvy

Biktarvy is known to interact with several other medications along with certain herbs and supplements. They cause different effects. For instance, the interaction can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Inform your doctor or physician about taking this medication before starting your treatment with Biktarvy.

The medicine which interacts with Biktarvy are:

  • Rifampin
  • Rifabutin
  • Rifapentine
  • Gentamicin
  • Acyclovir
  • Ganciclovir
  • Valacyclovir
  • Cidofovir
  • Carbamazepine
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Aluminum hydroxide
  • Magnesium trisilicate
  • Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide/simethicone
  • Calcium carbonate/magnesium hydroxide
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Diclofenac
  • Metformin
  • John’s wort
  • Certain iron and calcium supplements

How much does Biktarvy cost in America?

The price for Biktarvy oral tablets (50 mg-200 mg-25 mg) is around $3,000 at the lower end and $4,202 at the higher end for a supply of 30 tablets without insurance in the United States of America. The price varies depending on the pharmacies from where you purchase it.

The price you’ll pay for either drug also depends on your insurance plan and your location.

Why is Biktarvy so expensive?

Biktarvy is expensive in the United States because it does not have a generic form. Brand-name medications are usually more expensive than generics, and the medication is also effective against HIV and gives quick results.

Fortunately, some portion of the medicine’s cost is covered in most government and commercial health insurance plans in the country. A co-pay card program for Biktarvy covers up to $7,200 in cost-sharing assistance per year with no monthly limit.

Strengths and Dosages of Biktarvy

Biktarvy is manufactured as a tablet that you can consume orally by mouth. Each tablet contains three active drugs.

StrengthWeight
25 mg tenofovir alafenamide, 200 mg emtricitabine, 50 mg bictegravirAdults and children at least 25 kg (55 lbs)
15 mg tenofovir alafenamide, 120 mg emtricitabine, 30 mg bictegravirChildren between 14 kg and less than 25 kg

It is recommended to take the medicine according to your physician’s guidelines prescribed for you. You are recommended to have one tablet at a fixed time per day.

On the other hand, the recommended dosage for treating HIV in children is one tablet each day.

The medicine is part of a long-term treatment plan, and you and your doctor will determine whether it is safe and effective in the long run.

Biktarvy Alternatives

The alternatives of Biktarvy are:

  • Abacavir (Ziagen)
  • Emtricitabine (Emtriva)
  • Lamivudine (Epivir)
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread)
  • Zidovudine (Retrovir)
  • Doravirine (Pifeltro)
  • Efavirenz (Sustiva)
  • Etravirine (Intelence)
  • Nevirapine (Viramune, Viramune XR)
  • Rilpivirine (Edurant)
  • Atazanavir (Reyataz)
  • Darunavir (Prezista)
  • Fosamprenavir (Levixa)
  • Nitonavir (Norvir)
  • Tipranavir (Aptivus)
  • Enfuvirtide (Fuzeon)
  • Maraviroc (Selzentry)
  • Dolutegravir (Tivicay)
  • Raltegravir (Isentress)
  • Fostemsavir (Rukobia)
  • Ibalizumab-uiyk (Trogarzo)
  • Abacavir/lamivudine (Epzicom)
  • Abacavir/lamivudine/dolutegravir (Triumeq)
  • Abacavir/lamivudine/zidovudine (Trizivir)
  • Atazanavir/cobicistat (Evotaz)
  • Cabotegravir/rilpivirine (Cabenuva)
  • Darunavir/cobicistat (Prezcobix)
  • Darunavir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (Symtuza)
  • Dolutegravir/lamivudine (Dovato)
  • Dolutegravir/rilpivirine (Juluca)
  • Doravirine/lamivudine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Delstrigo)
  • Efavirenz/lamivudine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Symfi, Symfi Lo)
  • Efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Atripla)
  • Elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (Genvoya)
  • Elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Stribild)
  • Emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir alafenamide (Odefsey)
  • Emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Complera)
  • Emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (Descovy)
  • Emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada)
  • Lamivudine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Cimduo)
  • Lamivudine/zidovudine (Combivir)
  • Lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra)

Biktarvy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Biktarvy used for?

Biktarvy is a medicine that prevents the HIV cells from multiplying in your body, which prevents Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses.

What can you not take with Biktarvy?

You cannot take a variety of medicines such as Rifampin, Rifabutin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Metformin, and certain iron and calcium supplements with Biktarvy as it may interfere with the treatment plan.

How long do Biktarvy side effects last?

There are many side effects of Biktarvy, which may be temporary and last a few days or weeks. However, serious side effects last longer than that.

How long does Biktarvy stay in your system?

None of the active drugs in Biktarvy stays in the body more than a couple of days after the last dose, but it can be different among individuals. It’s not recommended to stop Biktarvy without the doctor’s approval, and people may suffer serious side effects because of it.

How effective is Biktarvy?

Biktarvy has been found to be highly effective, with 97% achieving virological suppression after three years of follow-up in clinical trials.

How long does it take for Biktarvy to work?

One pill of Biktarvy can be taken regularly with or without having food.

What happens if you miss a week of Biktarvy?

You can be at risk for drug resistance if you miss your medication for a week. It increases the amount of virus in your blood, and the disease may be harder to treat.

What happens if you stop taking Biktarvy?

There have been cases of worsening hepatitis B and HIV among patients who stopped taking Biktarvy.

When was Biktarvy approved?

Biktarvy was approved for use in 2018 in Australia, in 2019 in the European Union, and the United States, and in 2019 in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

How long can you go without Biktarvy?

You should take your Biktarvy dose immediately if 18 hours have passed before you last took it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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