Generic Name: tenofovir, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

tenofovir, Oral tablet

Viread

All Brands

  • Viread
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for tenofovir

Oral tablet
1

Viread is approved to treat both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and chronic hepatitis B virus infections.

2

If you’re taking Viread for HIV infection, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe other medications that must be taken with Viread.

3

Viread may cause liver enlargement or a buildup of acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). This can lead to weakness, muscle pain, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, and more. It can lead to coma if left untreated.

4

Viread may have negative interactions with other drugs. Combining Viread with drugs that reduce kidney function, such as certain anti-inflammatories, might lead to kidney failure.

5

In general, the dosage for treating HIV infection and chronic hepatitis B virus infections is the same. Viread can be taken with or without food.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Though the medication can still be sold and used, a black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Warning: Lactic acidosis and liver enlargement are possible with this drug. Lactic acidosis is a serious change in your body's chemical balance. It can lead to weakness, muscle pain, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, irregular or rapid heartbeat, dizziness, trouble breathing, or feelings of coldness in the legs or arms. If you have these symptoms or swelling or enlargement of your stomach, see a doctor right away. Lactic acidosis can lead to coma if left untreated.

Warning for people with both hepatitis B virus infection and HIV infection. If you take Viread and then stop taking it, your hepatitis B virus infection could flare up and become worse. Your doctor will need to monitor your liver function closely if you stop treatment. You may need to start treatment for hepatitis B virus infection again.

Other HIV drugs warning

Viread shouldn’t be used with:

  • Atripla
  • Complera
  • Stribild
  • Truvada

These drugs are combination products that already contain Viread. Combining these with Viread could cause you to get too much of the drug and result in more side effects.

May cause changes in body fat

May cause fat redistribution. Some people experience a redistribution or accumulation of fat around the stomach or on the back. They can also have a loss of fat in the limbs and face.

Drug Features

Viread is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: oral tablet and oral powder. This drug is used as part of a combination therapy. That means you will typically take this drug in combination with other drugs to treat your condition.

Why It's Used

  • Viread is given in combination with other antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection. It’s approved to treat HIV infection in adults and children aged 2 years and older. It doesn’t eliminate the virus entirely, but it helps to control it.
  • Viread is approved to treat chronic hepatitis B virus infection in adults and children ages 12 years and older.

How It Works

Viread belongs to a class of drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It’s also a hepatitis B virus reverse transcriptase inhibitor (RTI).

A class of drugs refers to medications that work the same way. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How It Works

Viread belongs to a class of drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It’s also a hepatitis B virus reverse transcriptase inhibitor (RTI).

A class of drugs refers to medications that work the same way. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

The drug works in the same way for both HIV infection and chronic hepatitis B virus infections. It blocks the effectiveness of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme required for each virus to make copies of itself. Blocking reverse transcriptase can reduce the amount of the virus in your blood.

Viread can also increase CD4 cell count. CD4 cells are white blood cells that fight infection.

SECTION 2 of 5

tenofovir Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with Viread include:

  • depression

  • pain

  • back pain

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • insomnia

  • nausea/vomiting

  • rash

Some of these side effects should improve over the first few weeks you take Viread. If they don’t, or if they are bothersome, contact your doctor.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • lactic acidosis or liver enlargement. Symptoms of lactic acidosis can include weakness, muscle pain, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, irregular or rapid heartbeat, dizziness, trouble breathing, or feelings of coldness in the legs or arms. Symptoms of liver problems can include dark urine, abdominal pain or discomfort, fatigue, yellowing skin, and nausea.

  • symptoms of worsening hepatitis B virus infection, which include abdominal pain, dark urine, fever, nausea, weakness, and yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice). If you have chronic hepatitis B virus infection and stop taking Viread, you may experience these worsened symptoms. You may need close monitoring for several months, or you may need treatment for the hepatitis again.

  • signs of immune reconstitution syndrome, including symptoms of past infections. In this condition, your recovering immune system may cause your body to have an enhanced immune response to remnants of past infections. You may need additional treatment.
  • kidney damage and reduced kidney function. Symptoms can include fatigue or aching and puffiness. This can also happen slowly without many symptoms. Taking other drugs that reduce kidney function, such as certain antivirals and anti-inflammatories, can increase your chance of kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you take these drugs. Your doctor will monitor your kidney function before taking Viread and may take blood tests to check kidney function while you take the drug.
  • decreased bone mineral density. Viread can decrease bone density. However, it’s not known if this increases your chance of fractures. Your doctor may do tests to check your bone density or recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Viread does not cause drowsiness. 

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

tenofovir May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Viread can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Antibiotics from the aminoglycoside group

These are mainly IV drugs given in hospitals. They include:

  • gentamicin, which is sometimes used in eye drops. If you’re prescribed gentamicin while taking Viread, talk to your doctor before using it.
  • amikacin
  • tobramycin

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are used for arthritis and pain. Do not use high doses of these drugs, take more than one at a time, or take them for long periods of time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure if you’re taking a NSAID.

Some of these include:

  • diclofenac
  • ibuprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • naproxen
  • piroxicam

Hepatitis B virus drug
  • Hepsera (adefovir dipivoxil)

Antiviral drugs (not HIV drugs)

These include:

  • cidofovir (an intravenous drug)
  • acyclovir
  • valacyclovir
  • ganciclovir

HIV drugs

These include:

  • atazanavir (Reyataz, alone or “boosted” with ritonavir)
  • darunavir (Prezista), “boosted” with ritonavir
  • didanosine (Videx)
  • lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra)

The HIV drugs below all contain Viread as one ingredient. Taking these along with Viread would increase how much of the drug you’re getting. Getting too much of the drug can increase the chance that you will experience side effects. Some of these side effects could be serious, such as kidney damage.

These drugs include:

  • Atripla
  • Complera
  • Stribild
  • Truvada

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with kidney disease

Viread is filtered through the kidneys. If you have kidney disease, taking it may cause even more damage to your kidneys. Your dose may need to be reduced.

Pregnant women

Viread is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show the drug poses a risk to the fetus

Sufficient studies on the effect of Viread in pregnant women haven’t yet been done. Viread should be used during pregnancy only if it’s clearly needed.

Women who are nursing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that if you have HIV you should not breastfeed, because HIV may be passed through breast milk to your baby.

Additionally, Viread is passed through breast milk and could have serious side effects on your baby.

For Seniors

If you are aged 65 years or older, your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose so that too much of this drug does not build up in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be toxic.

When to call the doctor

See your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms:

  • increased fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • swollen lymph glands
  • night sweats

This can indicate that your medication isn’t working and may need to be changed.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take tenofovir (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Brand: Viread

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg, 300 mg



Form: Oral powder
Strength: 40 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older who weigh at least 77 lb [35 kg])

One 300-mg tablet, once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 12-17 years who weigh at least 77 lb [35 kg])

One 300-mg tablet, once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 2-11 years or weigh less than 77lb [35 kg])

Your child’s doctor will provide a dose based on your child’s specific weight.

Child Dosage (ages 0-23 months)

Dosage for people younger than 2 years has not been established.

Special Considerations

Seniors: If you’re 65 years or older, your doctor may adjust your dose. You may have changes like decreased kidney function, which may cause you to need a lower drug dose.

Kidney Disease: Talk to your doctor before taking Viread if you have kidney disease. This drug is removed from the body by the kidneys. Kidney disease can increase drug levels in the body, resulting in serious side effects. Your doctor may want to use a lower dose.

Chronic hepatitis B virus infection

Brand: Viread

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg, 300 mg



Form: Oral powder
Strength: 40 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older who weigh at least 77 lb [35 kg])

One 300-mg tablet, once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 12-17 years and weigh less than 77 lb [35 kg])

Dosage has not been established for children who weigh less than 77 lb (35 kg).

Child Dosage (ages 0-11 years)

Dosage for people younger than 12 years has not been established.

Special Considerations

Seniors: If you’re 65 years or older, your doctor may adjust your dose. You may have changes like decreased kidney function, which may cause you to need a lower drug dose.

Kidney Disease: Talk to your doctor before taking Viread if you have kidney disease. This drug is removed from the body by the kidneys. Kidney disease can increase drug levels in the body, resulting in serious side effects. Your doctor may want to use a lower dose.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Tream

Keeping HIV under control requires long-term treatment and long-term effort. There can be very serious health consequences if you don’t take this drug exactly how your doctor tells you.

Your Risk if You Stop, Miss Doses, or Don’t Take It on Schedule

In order to keep your HIV under control, you need a certain amount of Viread in your body all the time. If you stop taking your Viread, miss doses, or don’t take it on a regular schedule, the amount of medication in your body changes. Missing a few doses is enough to allow HIV to become resistant to Viread. This can lead to serious infections and health problems.

Taking your drug at the same time every day increases your ability to keep the virus under control.

If You Miss a Dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's just a few hours until your next dose, wait to take a single dose at the usual time.

Take just one dose at a time. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects, such as kidney damage.

How Can I Tell if the Drug is Working?

If you’re using Viread for HIV, your doctor will check your CD4 count to determine if the drug is working. CD4 cells are white blood cells that fight infection. An increased level of CD4 cells is a sign that the drug is working.

Chronic hepatitis B virus infection usually requires long-term treatment.

Your Risk if You Miss a Dose or Don’t Take It on Schedule

In order to control your hepatitis infection, the medication needs to be taken regularly.  Missing multiple doses can decrease how well the drugs works. Taking the medication at the same time each day increases your ability to control the hepatitis virus.

If You Miss a Dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's just a few hours until your next dose, wait to take a single dose at the usual time.

Take just one dose at a time. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects, such as kidney damage.

How Can I Tell if the Drug is Working?

If you’re using this drug for chronic hepatitis B virus infection, your doctor will check the amount of the virus’s DNA in your blood. A reduced level of the virus in your blood is a sign that the drug is working.

You can take Viread tablets with or without food

Take the oral liquid product (made from powder) with food.

You can cut or crush Viread tablets

If you have trouble swallowing the tablet, a powder version can be mixed with food, such as applesauce or yogurt. It needs to be consumed immediately to avoid a bitter taste. Don’t mix it with water or other liquid, because the powder may float at the surface rather than dissolve.

Store Viread tablets or oral powder at room temperature: 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C)

Keep the bottle tightly closed and away from light and moisture.

Note: Be careful of moist environments, including bathrooms. To keep drugs away from moisture, store them somewhere other than your bathroom and any other damp location.

Clinical Monitoring

Viread is removed from your body through your kidneys. Your doctor will check your kidney function before treatment and may check it during treatment to determine if you need any dose adjustments.

Viread might reduce your bone density. Your doctor might do special tests such as a bone scan to measure your bone density.

Your progress and treatment effectiveness can be measured through some lab tests. Your doctor may check virus levels in your blood or measure white blood cells to evaluate your progress.

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead

If you only need a few tablets, you should call and ask if your pharmacy dispenses only a small number of tablets. Some pharmacies can't dispense only part of a bottle.

This drug is often available from specialty pharmacies through your insurance plan. These pharmacies operate like mail order pharmacies and ship the drug to you.

In larger cities, there will often be HIV pharmacies where you can have your prescriptions filled. Ask your doctor if there's a HIV pharmacy in your area.

Hidden Costs

While you take Viread, you may need extra lab testing, including:

  • bone density scan (performed once a year or less often)
  • kidney function tests

Insurance

Some insurance companies will require a prior authorization (P.A.) before they’ll pay for this drug. Your doctor may have to do some paperwork, and this can delay your treatment for a week or two.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are several alternative treatments for HIV and chronic hepatitis B. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does tenofovir Cost?

Oral tablet
We've partnered with GoodRX so you can compare prices and save money on your next prescription. Check out the lowest cash prices below and enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

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Lowest price for tenofovir

Membership warehouse $950.80
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Content developed in collaboration with Susan J. Bliss, RPh, MBA

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on March 12, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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