Emtricitabine is one part of the drug Truvada for PrEP. Truvada for PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a prescription drug that helps reduce your risk of getting HIV through sex when it is taken correctly and used alongside safer sex practices.
How Does Emtricitabine Work?
Emtricitabine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, or NRTI. NRTIs work by preventing the HIV virus from multiplying and can reduce the amount of the HIV virus in the body.
NRTIs cannot cure HIV or AIDS, but taken in combination with an HIV treatment regimen, it can help people living with HIV live healthier, longer lives and reduce the risk of transmission. Do not stop taking this drug or cut down on the dosage unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so.
Emtricitabine can also be an effective treatment for hepatitis B infection, or HBV, and can be included in a treatment regimen for HIV for those infected with HBV.
Where Can I Get Emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine is safe and widely available at many pharmacies with a prescription from your healthcare provider. It is known by the brand name Emtriva.
What Precautions Should I Take with Emtricitabine?
Before taking Emtricitabine, let your doctor know if you are allergic to Emtricitabine or any other medication, have kidney problems or liver problems, or have any other medical conditions.
Emtricitabine should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed, so let your doctor know right away if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Do not take if you are breastfeeding.
What Are Some of the Side Effects of Emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine is associated with some rare but serious side effects, including the buildup of lactic acid in the blood, known as lactic acidosis, and serious liver problems.
For this reason, let your doctor know right away if you have symptoms such as feeling very weak, trouble breathing, unusual muscle pain, are dizzy or lightheaded, or have a fast or irregular heartbeat, as these could be symptoms of lactic acidosis. Additionally, dark-colored urine, light-colored bowel movements, loss of appetite for several days, and jaundice could be symptoms of liver problems, so let your healthcare provider know right away if you experience them.
How Should I Store Emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine capsules should be stored at room temperature, while the oral solution should be stored in a refrigerator. Keep Emtricitabine and all medications out of the reach of children.
Does PrEP Cause Weight Gain?
Emtricitabine is part of the drug Truvada for PrEP. It is a myth that Truvada causes weight gain. In fact, Truvada appeared to temporarily prevent some weight gain and reduce cholesterol slightly in a recent study.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Emtricitabine?
Emtricitabine can cause worsening of hepatitis B virus infection (HBV), or a flare-up if you stop taking it. Do not stop taking Emtricitabine without first talking to your healthcare provider. Make sure to get refills of Emtricitabine in advance so that you don't run out.
Emtricitabine can interact with some medications, so keep a list of all of the medications that you take and tell your healthcare provider about them.
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