You may have heard about PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, as a way for people who do not currently have HIV, but who may be at risk of getting it, to prevent HIV infection by taking this medication every day. There are a lot of questions around PrEP and what medications may or may not do.
Truvada® is the brand name of the generic medicine emtricitabine/tenofovir. This fixed-dose medication is a combination of two antiretroviral medications called tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine and is prescribed for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at risk by up to 92%.”
Emtricitabine and tenofovir are in a class of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which work to reduce the amount of HIV enzymes called reverse transcriptase. In doing so, the HIV is less likely to multiply and the amount of HIV in the body is reduced.
For those who want to take emtricitabine/tenofovir to prevent HIV/AIDS, it is to be used along with safe sex practices and it must be taken daily.
Is generic emtricitabine/tenofovir as effective as brand-name Truvada®?
According to research presented to the International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection (HIV Glasgow), tested generic PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) was shown to have the same amounts of emtricitabine and tenofovir as the brand name medication, Truvada®. (Source: Aidsmap.com)
How is Truvada® and emtricitabine/tenofovir prescribed?
Brand-name Truvada® is available in the following strength and amounts:
Truvada® 200 mg/300 mg – 30 tablets, 60 tablets, or 90 tablets.
One tablet is taken once a day, every day.
Emtricitabine/tenofovir is available in the following strength and amounts:
Emtricitabine/tenofovir – 200 mg/300 mg – 30 tablets, 60 tablets, or 90 tablets.
One tablet is taken once a day, every day.
Note: The generic medication is far more affordable than brand-name Truvada®.
Learn more about PrEP – an HIV prevention option, by watching this video.
What does emtricitabine/tenofovir NOT do?
It is important to know your HIV-1 status before taking emtricitabine/tenofovir.
It is Important to know that HIV-1 tests may come back as negative in those who have recently been exposed to the HIV-1 virus. If you become ill with flu-like symptoms within the last 30 days before starting ET, you must tell your doctor.
If your blood tests confirm that you are HIV-1 positive, you will need to take other prescription medications, along with ET, to treat the HIV-1 infection. PrEP alone will not be a complete treatment for HIV-1.
As with many prescription medications, there are side effects to be aware of. Speak to your doctor and pharmacist if you experience any of the following side effects:
It is not uncommon for patients to experience stomach pain, weight loss and headache. However, it is important to tell your doctor if these symptoms are bothersome or do not go away.
Be sure to inform your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Also, tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking and any other health concerns you might have.
Was this article helpful? You may find the following article help, too.
What is PrEP for HIV Prevention?
Is generic emtricitabine tenofovir as effective as brand name Truvada®?
If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.
This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).