Drugs A - Z

Emtricitabine Oral capsule

It is used with other medicines to treat HIV

Generic Name: emtricitabine  |  Brand Name: Emtriva

Brand Names: Emtriva

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis (including some fatalities) reported rarely in patients receiving nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) alone or in conjunction with other antiretrovirals. (See Hepatic Effects and Lactic Acidosis under Cautions.)
  • Single entity or fixed-combination preparations containing emtricitabine not indicated for treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection; safety and efficacy not established for treatment of HIV infection in patients coinfected with HBV.
  • Severe, acute exacerbations of HBV reported following discontinuance of emtricitabine. Monitor hepatic function closely with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months after emtricitabine is discontinued in patients coinfected with HBV and HIV. If appropriate, initiation of treatment for HBV infection may be warranted.

What is this medicine?

EMTRICITABINE (em tri SIT uh bean) is an antiretroviral medicine. It is used with other medicines to treat HIV. This medicine is not a cure for HIV. It will not stop the spread of HIV to others.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to emtricitabine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take it with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. For your anti-HIV therapy to work as well as possible, take each dose exactly as prescribed. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine even if you feel better. Skipping doses may make the HIV virus resistant to this medicine and other medicines. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 3 months old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • any medicine that contains emtricitabine
  • any medicine that contains lamivudine

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Discuss any new symptoms with your doctor. You will need to have important blood work done while on this medicine.

HIV is spread to others through sexual or blood contact. Talk to your doctor about how to stop the spread of HIV.

If you have hepatitis B, talk to your doctor if you plan to stop this medicine. The symptoms of hepatitis B may get worse if you stop this medicine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing difficulties
  • dark urine
  • general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of appetite, nausea
  • nausea, vomiting, unusual stomach upset or pain
  • right upper belly pain
  • unusually weak or tired
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • skin discoloration on the hands or feet
  • weight gain around waist, back, or thinning of face, arms, legs

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


Last Updated: April 09, 2013
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