Tenofovir (By mouth)


Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (ten-OF-oh-vir dye-soe-PROX-il FUE-ma-rate)

Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children 2 years of age and older. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Tenofovir does not cure HIV or AIDS, but it may slow the progress of the disease. Tenofovir is always used together with other medicines to treat HIV. This medicine is also used alone to treat chronic (long-term) hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Brand Name(s)


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 tenofovir, or if you are also taking adefovir (Hepsera®), Atripla®, Complera®, or Truvada®.

How to Use This Medicine

Powder, Tablet

  • 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.
  • Tenofovir is used with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your combination treatment.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • For patients who cannot swallow the tablets, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may want you to take the oral powder.
  • If you are using the oral powder:
    • Measure the oral powder correctly using the dosing scoop that comes with the package. If you have any questions about this, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Mix the oral powder with 2 to 4 ounces of soft food (such as applesauce, baby food, yogurt).
    • After mixing, swallow it right away to avoid bitter taste.
    • Do not mix the oral powder with any liquid.
  • Keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better.
  • It is important that you do not miss any doses of this medicine. When your supply of this medicine is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacy ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.
  • 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 medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • 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.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using acyclovir (Zovirax®), atazanavir (Reyataz®), cidofovir (Vistide®), didanosine (Videx®), famciclovir (Famvir®), ganciclovir (Cytovene®), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra®), probenecid (Benemid®), valacyclovir (Valtrex®), or valganciclovir (Valcyte?). Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that may be hard on your kidneys. This medicine may interact with many other medicines. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you are using.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or a history of bone problems. Tell your doctor if you are having a kidney dialysis.
  • You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you might give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (build-up of acid in the blood) and an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you feel very tired, weak, or nauseated, if you vomit or have trouble breathing, or if your skin or eyes have turned yellow.
  • This medicine may also increase your risk of developing bone fractures. Ask your doctor about this if you have any concerns.
  • 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 or disorders that were hidden in your body, such as Graves' disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, polymyositis, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.
  • This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from the legs, arms, and face.
  • 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.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking this medicine, even for a short time, without talking to your doctor.
  • 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
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and body aches
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools
  • Extreme weakness, tiredness, or confusion
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach
  • Rapid breathing or trouble breathing
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain and fever
  • Weakening of the bones
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

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

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Back pain
  • Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Mild stomach pain or diarrhea

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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