Emtricitabine (By mouth)

Introduction

Emtricitabine (em-trye-SYE-ta-been)

Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection when used with other medicines. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Emtricitabine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but it may slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s)

Emtriva

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to emtricitabine or if you also use lamivudine, Atripla®, Combivir®, Complera?, Epivir®, Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Trizivir®, or Truvada®.

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Do not change or stop using this medicine without checking with your doctor first. Contact your doctor or pharmacist when your supply of this medicine is running low. Do not let your medicine to run out.
  • This medicine is used together with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time of the day. This will make your medicines work better.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the capsules in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • It is best to store the oral liquid in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. If you must keep the liquid at room temperature, throw away any unused liquid after 3 months.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you have kidney disease or liver disease (especially hepatitis B infection).
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you might give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • Lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity are rare but serious reactions to this medicine. These are more common if you are female, obese, or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: stomach pain; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle cramping or pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis.
  • This medicine may cause changes in your body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as more fat in your upper back and neck or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, and face.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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