Written by Rachel Nall | Published on October 24, 2013
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on October 24, 2013

What Is Viread?

Brand Name: Viread
Generic Name: Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, TDF, tenofovir DF

Viread is a medication prescribed to treat HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the medication for use in adults and children ages 2 and older for use in treating HIV infection. Viread is used in combination therapy, meaning the medication is often taken with other medications.

Read the FDA description of Viread.

What Does Viread Do?

Viread is not a cure for HIV. Viread belongs to a class of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). These medications block the effectiveness of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme present in HIV. As a result, HIV has difficulty replicating. This can reduce the amount of the virus in the blood. Treatment with this medication can result in an increase in the number of CD4 or immune system cells in the body.

Viread is available as an oral powder or a tablet. The medication can be taken with or without food. The oral powder can be mixed with applesauce, baby food, or yogurt. Do not mix the oral powder with liquid. Take Viread at the same time every day.

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 Viread?

Tell your doctor before taking Viread if you:

  • are breastfeeding or planning on breastfeeding
  • have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that requires dialysis
  • have impaired renal function with a creatinine clearance of less than 50 mL/min (FDA, 2012).

What Medications May Interact with Viread?

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

Medications that can adversely interact with Viread include:

  • atazanavir (Reyataz)
  • didanosine (Videx and Videx EC)
  • lopinavir with ritonavir (Kaletra)
  • other medications prescribed to treat HIV that include tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, including Atripla, Complera, Stribild, and Truvada

Possible Side Effects of Viread

The following are severe and emergent side effects of Viread. Contact your medical provider immediately if you experience:

  • hepatotoxicity, such as hepatomegaly with steatosis, that affects your liver functioning; symptoms of this condition include dark urine, decrease in appetite, fatigue, yellowing skin, nausea, and tenderness over the liver.
  • immune reconstitution syndrome, a condition that causes an inflammatory response in viruses in the blood, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis
  • lactic acidosis, a condition that causes excess amounts of acid to build up in your blood; this causes symptoms such as weakness, tiredness, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, feeling cold, or feeling dizzy
  • a decline in kidney function; in rare cases, people taking Viread can experience kidney damage, such as acute renal failure or Fanconi syndrome
  • reduction in bone mineral density

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.

  • abdominal pain
  • changes in the distribution of body fat, such as an increasing amount of fat on the neck
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • nausea/vomiting
  • rash

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.

Viread and Hepatitis B

Doctors also prescribe Viread to treat hepatitis B. Patients with hepatitis B and HIV can take Viread as part of an antiretroviral combination medication treatment (FDA, 2012).

Where Should I Keep Viread?

Viread tablets and oral powder should be stored at room temperature at 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). The medication should be kept in its original container at all times.

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.

Lactic Acidosis/Severe Hepatomegaly
lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly w/ steatosis, incl. fatal cases, associated w/ nucleoside analogue use alone or in combination; suspend tx if clinical or laboratory findings suggest lactic acidosis or hepatotoxicity
Hepatitis B Exacerbation
severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis may occur in HBV-infected patients when D/C tenofovir; monitor hepatic fxn closely for at least several months after D/C tenofovir; initiate anti-HBV tx if needed

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Article Sources:

●      Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate. (2013, August 23). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from
●      Viread. (January 2012). FDA Access Data. Retrieved October 19, 2013 from

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