Written by Rachel Nall | Published on October 25, 2013
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on October 25, 2013

What Is Intelence?

Brand Name: Intelence
Generic Name: Etravirine

Intelence is a medication that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved to treat HIV in adults and children ages 6 and older. Intelence is always prescribed in combination with other HIV medications. Intelence is prescribed to people who are already taking other HIV medications if those medications may not be successfully controlling their HIV.  

Read the FDA description of Intelence.

What Does Intelence Do?

Intelence belongs to a class of medications known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). The medication keeps HIV from replicating, thus slowing the disease’s progression. Intelence is not a cure for HIV.

Intelence should be taken after a meal and with a full glass of water. Do not take the medication on an empty stomach or chew the tablets. The tablets can be diluted with water, but no other liquid. Drinking grapefruit juice or warm or carbonated beverages while taking Intelence may reduce its effectiveness (AIDSinfo, 2013).

This information is a summary. Before starting this medication, discuss questions with your healthcare provider and make sure you understand dosage instructions.

What Should I Tell My Doctor Before Starting Intelence?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • have an allergy to Intelence or other medications
  • are breastfeeding or are planning on breastfeeding
  • are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant
  • have a history of liver disease, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C

What Medications May Interact with Intelence?

Always tell your physician about any prescription medications or herbal remedies you are taking.

Medications that can adversely interact with Intelence include:

  • antiarrhythmic medications for the heart, including digoxin (Lanoxin), amiodarone (Cordarone), bepridil (Vascor), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide (Tambocor), lidocaine (systemic), mexiletine (Mexitil), propafenone (Rythmol, Rythmol SR), and quinidine
  • anticoagulants, including carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, and phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • antifungals, including fluconazole (Diflucan), voriconazole (Vfend), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral, Kuric), and posaconazole (LiverTox)
  • anti-infective medications, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL)
  • antimalarials, such as artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem, Riamet)
  • antimycobacterials, including rifabutin (Mycobutin)
  • antiretroviral medications, including tipranavir/ritonavir (Aptivus/Norvir), fosamprenavir/ritonavir (Lexiva or Telzir), atazanavir/ritonavir (Reyataz)
  • antiviral medications known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), including efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin), nevirapine (Viramune, Viramune XR), delavirdine (Rescriptor) or rilpivirine (Edurant)
  • benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium)
  • CCR5 antagonists, including maraviroc (Selzentry) and maraviroc/darunavir/ritonavir
  • corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone
  • hepatitis C antivirals, such as telaprevir (Incivek)
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor)
  • narcotic analgesics and/or treatments for opioid dependence, including buprenorphine (Subutex), buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), or methadone (Symoron or Amidone)
  • phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, including sildenafil (Viagra or Revatio), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra)
  • platelet aggregation inhibitors, including clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • St. John’s wort

Possible Side Effects of Intelence

The following are severe and emergent side effects of these medications. Report to your medical provider immediately if you experience the following:

  • a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include sudden facial swelling, fever, difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, hives in the mouth, yellowing of the skin, stomach pain, or dark-colored urine.
  • a severe skin rash, such as blistering or ulcerations associated with Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis

The following side effects may occur but do not usually represent an emergency. Discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional if they continue or are bothersome.

  • changes in the distribution of body fat, such as an increasing amount of fat on the neck
  • diarrhea
  • tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet, known as peripheral neuropathy

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor or healthcare provider for advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where Should I Keep Intelence?

Intelence should be stored at room temperature—somewhere between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius). Do not remove the desiccant or drying agent packets from the bottle. These packets will protect the medication from moisture.

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.

FDA WARNING: Intelence carries a black box warning (meaning the medication can have deadly effects) for severe rash and life-threatening allergic reactions. Seek emergency care immediately if you suspect you are experiencing either reaction.

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Article Sources:

●      Etravirine. (2013, August 23). AIDSinfo. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from
●      Etravirine. (August 2009). FDA. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from
●      Intelence. (February 2013). National Institutes of Health, Health & Human Services. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from

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