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Tenofovir is an antiviral medication that treats HIV infections. It reduces the amount of HIV found in the blood by preventing the virus from replicating. It can also prevent damage to the immune system, therefore reducing the risk of AIDS-related illnesses. Although tenofovir does not cure HIV, it can slow the progress of the infection and prolong life.
How Does Tenofovir Work?
Tenofovir is a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or NtRTI. NtRTIs work by inhibiting an enzyme that is critical to helping a virus replicate itself. Tenofovir is usually prescribed alongside other antiretrovirals.
Tenofovir is also available in a fixed-dose, combination tablet that is called Truvada for PrEP. Truvada contains 300 mg of tenofovir as well as 200 mg of emtricitabine.
Tenofovir comes in both tablet and oral powder form. Typically, the tablet form is taken without food once per day. The powder is also taken one time per day, often with food. Take tenofovir as directed by your healthcare provider.
Where Can I Get Tenofovir?
Tenofovir is available at many pharmacies by prescription. Tenofovir is the generic version and is also available by the brand names Viread and Vemlidy.
What Precautions Should I Take Before Taking Tenofovir?
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to tenofovir or any other medication, as well as any other prescription or non-prescription medications that you may be taking. You should also let your healthcare provider know if you have ever had osteoporosis, liver disease, kidney disease, or bone fractures.
Do not take tenofovir if you are breastfeeding. Let your doctor know right away if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant.
What Are Some Side Effects of Tenofovir?
Tenofovir can lead to some side effects. These can include headache, depression, rash, itching, fever, difficulty falling or staying asleep, diarrhea, or weight loss. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any of these symptoms and they don't go away.
Some side effects are rare but can be more serious. These include loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, pain in the upper right part of your stomach, ongoing or worsening bone pain, and decreased urination. Severe side effects can also include high blood lactate and an enlarged liver. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
Is Tenofovir The Same as Truvada?
Tenofovir is one of the two active ingredients found in Truvada for PrEP. Truvada is a prescription drug that can help reduce the risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact when taken correctly and in combination with safer sex practices.
Does PrEP Cause Weight Gain?
It is a myth that PrEP can cause 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 Tenofovir?
Store Tenofovir in the container that it comes in. Keep it at room temperature, tightly closed, and away from excess moisture and heat.
Before taking tenofovir, let your healthcare provider know if you have ever had liver problems including hepatitis B, bone problems, or kidney problems, or if you're allergic to any medical conditions.
Do not take tenofovir if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.
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