Truvada is an FDA-authorized medicine used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection in adults and children who weigh at least 37 lb and should be used with a combination of at least one other HIV medication. It’s a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the white blood cells called CD4 cells.

Truvada is used for two main purposes:

  1. When used with other HIV medications, Truvada helps control the infection by reducing the amount of HIV virus in the blood. This helps prevent damage to the immune system and slow the development of AIDS-related illnesses.
  2. Truvada can be taken by people at high risk of contracting HIV to significantly reduce their chances of getting infected. It’s important to note that PrEP should be used alongside safer sex practices like condoms for maximum protection.

Truvada Ingredients

Truvada is a combination of two medications: emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil. These medications work together to target an enzyme called reverse transcriptase, which is crucial for HIV to replicate and infect cells.

  • Emtricitabine: This medication belongs to a class of drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. It works by interfering with the building blocks that HIV needs to make copies of itself.
  • Tenofovir disoproxil: This is a prodrug, meaning it’s converted into its active form, tenofovir, once inside the body. Tenofovir is another NRTI that also disrupts the process of HIV replication by blocking reverse transcriptase.

Precautions and Warnings with Truvada

Here’s a breakdown of key points to remember regarding precautions and warnings with Truvada:

Dosage and Administration

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions exactly regarding dosage and frequency (usually once daily).
  • Children require a lower dosage than adults and should swallow the tablets whole. Consult your provider if swallowing is difficult.
  • Dosage adjustments might be needed based on factors like weight.
  • Never alter your dosage or discontinue Truvada without consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Missed doses can be detrimental, so consistency is crucial.
  • Seek immediate medical attention in case of overdose.
  • Maintain a regular supply and refill prescriptions before running out.

Treatment Implications

  • Stopping Truvada for HIV treatment, even briefly, can lead to:
    • Increased HIV viral load in the blood.
    • Development of drug resistance, making future treatment more challenging.
  • Missing doses for PrEP increases the risk of contracting HIV.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

  • Inform your healthcare provider about any underlying medical conditions, especially:
    • Liver problems, including hepatitis B infection.
    • Kidney problems or dialysis treatment.
    • Bone issues.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Truvada’s effects on unborn babies are unknown. Discuss pregnancy plans with your provider.
  • A pregnancy registry exists to monitor the health of mothers and babies exposed to Truvada during pregnancy.
  • Truvada can pass through breast milk. Avoid breastfeeding if you have HIV or suspect recent infection to prevent transmission to your baby.
  • If taking Truvada for PrEP and breastfeeding, consult your provider about the safest way to feed your baby.

Truvada Side Effects

Some recent HIV infections might not be detected by tests. Flu-like symptoms could indicate recent HIV infection. Inform your provider if you experience flu-like symptoms within a month before starting or while taking Truvada. Symptoms of recent HIV infection include tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and enlarged lymph nodes.

Truvada can cause a range of side effects, some more serious than others. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Kidney Problems: Truvada can worsen pre-existing kidney problems or even cause kidney failure. Regular blood and urine tests are crucial to monitor kidney function while taking Truvada.
  • Immune Reconstitution Syndrome: When starting HIV treatment, the immune system can become stronger and attack hidden infections. Inform your healthcare provider immediately about any new symptoms after starting Truvada.
  • Bone Problems: Truvada may increase the risk of bone pain, softening, or thinning, potentially leading to fractures. Your provider might recommend bone density tests.
  • Lactic Acidosis: This rare but serious condition involves excessive lactic acid buildup in the blood. Symptoms include unusual weakness, muscle pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, cold extremities, dizziness, and abnormal heartbeat. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these.
  • Severe Liver Problems: In rare cases, severe liver problems can occur. Watch out for yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea, or stomach pain. Report these symptoms to your provider right away.
  • Worsening of Hepatitis B (HBV): If you have HBV infection and take Truvada, stopping the medication can cause a flare-up, where the infection worsens.
  • Treatment (HIV-1): Diarrhea, nausea, tiredness, headache, dizziness, depression, sleep problems, abnormal dreams, and rash.
  • PrEP: Headache, stomach pain, and weight loss.

Drug Interactions with Truvada

Truvada can interact with certain medications, potentially affecting how they work or increasing the risk of side effects.

  1. Adefovir: Taking Truvada with adefovir can increase the risk of side effects from both medications.
  2. Orlistat: Orlistat may decrease the effectiveness of Truvada.
  3. Aminoglycosides (e.g., amikacin): These antibiotics can harm the kidneys, and combining them with Truvada might worsen kidney function.

Tenofovir Interaction with Atazanavir

  • Tenofovir, a component of Truvada, can lower the blood levels of atazanavir (another HIV medication), reducing its effectiveness.
  • If you take atazanavir with Truvada, you might need an additional medication (ritonavir) to ensure atazanavir works properly.

Cost of Truvada in America

In the United States, the price of Truvada can vary greatly depending on your insurance situation. Without insurance, a single month’s supply can be a staggering $2,000. Thankfully, there is a more affordable option which is the generic version. The good news is that most private health insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid all cover Truvada. By law, private insurers cannot even charge you a copay, meaning you wouldn’t pay anything out of pocket for the medication itself.

Why is Truvada so Expensive?

Truvada is a brand-name medication developed by Gilead Sciences. Brand-name drugs typically come with a higher price tag compared to generic versions because pharmaceutical companies invest heavily in research and development to bring the drug to market.

Strengths and Dosages of Truvada

WeightDosage Form & Strength     Dosage
<17 kgNot establishedNot established
17 to <22 kg100 mg/150 mg tabletOne 100 mg/150 mg tablet PO qDay
22 to <28 kg133 mg/200 mg tabletOne 133 mg/200 mg tablet PO qDay
28 to <35 kg167 mg/250 mg tabletOne 167 mg/250 mg tablet PO qDay
≥35 kg (Adults & Adolescents)200 mg/300 mg tabletOne 200 mg/300 mg tablet PO qDay

Truvada Alternatives

  • Descovy: An updated formulation with improved renal and bone safety profiles, used for both HIV treatment and PrEP.
  • Atripla: A single-tablet regimen combining three antiretroviral drugs, used once daily for HIV treatment.
  • Biktarvy: A single-tablet regimen that is highly effective and well-tolerated, used once daily for HIV treatment.
  • Complera: A once-daily combination tablet used for HIV treatment, offering a simple regimen with good efficacy.
  • Genvoya: A single-tablet regimen for once-daily use in HIV treatment, combining four antiretroviral agents.

Truvada FAQ

What is Truvada?

Truvada is a medication containing two drugs: emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. It’s primarily used for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to help prevent HIV infection in individuals at risk.

What is Truvada used for?

Truvada is used for PrEP, meaning it’s taken by HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex or sharing needles. It’s not a treatment for HIV, but a preventative measure.

How long do Truvada side effects last?

Truvada side effects like nausea, upset stomach, and dizziness are common initially but usually subside after a few weeks. Consult a doctor if side effects are severe or persistent.

How long does Truvada take to work?

Truvada achieves maximum effectiveness after seven consistent days of daily use. However, condoms are still recommended to protect against other sexually transmitted infections.

How effective is Truvada?

When taken daily as prescribed and combined with safer sex practices, Truvada can be highly effective in preventing HIV. Studies show it can reduce the risk of HIV from sex by over 90%.

How long does Truvada stay in your system?

Truvada leaves your system relatively quickly after you stop taking it. Most of the medication is eliminated within 24 to 48 hours.

What happens if you miss a dose of Truvada?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the next dose, skip the missed one and resume your regular schedule. Don’t take double doses.

What happens if you take too much Truvada?

Accidental overdose is unlikely to cause serious problems. However, consult a doctor or poison control center immediately if you suspect an overdose.

Who makes Truvada?

Gilead Sciences Inc. originally developed Truvada. However, generic versions of the medication are now available.

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.

Product was successfully added to your cart!