If you’re looking at treatment options for HIV, your doctor may suggest Genvoya. It’s a brand-name medication used in adults and some children with HIV. Genvoya can be used as either:

  • your first treatment for HIV
  • a treatment to replace your current HIV treatment in certain situations

To learn more about the use of Genvoya for treating HIV, see the “What is Genvoya used for?” section below.

Genvoya basics

Genvoya contains four active drugs* in one pill:

Genvoya comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s a complete HIV treatment regimen, which means it doesn’t need to be taken with other HIV medications. Genvoya isn’t available as a generic.

This article covers Genvoya’s side effects, uses, and more.

* An active drug is an ingredient that makes a medication work.

Like most drugs, Genvoya may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Genvoya may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Genvoya. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Genvoya can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Genvoya’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Genvoya that have been reported include:

  • fatigue (low energy)
  • nausea
  • headache
  • diarrhea

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Genvoya can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Genvoya, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Genvoya that have been reported include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Genvoya. While allergic reaction wasn’t reported in studies of Genvoya, it can still happen.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Genvoya. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Genvoya may be used in adults and in children who weigh at least 55 pounds (25 kg). Genvoya may be used as either:

  • your first treatment for HIV
  • a replacement for your current HIV treatment regimen, if the amount of HIV in your blood is too low to be detected on a blood test and you’ve been taking the current regimen for at least 6 months without a history of treatment failure*

*With treatment failure, HIV is detectable on a blood test even though you’re receiving treatment.

HIV is a virus that targets your immune system. Your immune system defends your body against infection. HIV destroys certain cells made by your immune system. Without these cells, your immune system struggles to protect you against infection.

Unless it’s treated, HIV eventually causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). With AIDS, your immune system becomes so weak that it can’t protect you from infection.

Genvoya contains four active drugs* that work in different ways to stop HIV from making copies of itself. This helps reduce the level of HIV in your blood. As a result, your immune system is strengthened over time, which allows it to defend against infections. And having a low HIV level in your blood also lowers your risk for AIDs.

Your doctor won’t prescribe Genvoya if you have HIV that’s resistant to any of Genvoya’s active drugs. (Resistance means a drug is no longer effective at treating HIV.)

*An active drug is an ingredient that makes a medication work. Genvoya contains four active drugs: elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Genvoya, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Genvoya.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Genvoya can interact with several types of drugs. Examples include:

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Genvoya. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with the use of Genvoya.

Other interactions

You should not use the herbal supplement St. John’s wort with Genvoya. Doing so may cause Genvoya to be less effective. Ask your doctor about safe alternatives instead.

Boxed warning

Genvoya has a boxed warning for the risk of worsening hepatitis B infection. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Severe worsening of hepatitis B infection has been reported in people with hepatitis B who stop taking drugs such as Genvoya. This worsening can cause severe liver problems, including liver failure.

For more information, see the “Boxed warning” section at the top of the article.

Other warnings

Genvoya may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. (Conditions or factors that could prevent your doctor from prescribing the drug are called contraindications.) Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Genvoya. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Kidney problems. If you have severe kidney problems, your doctor may not prescribe Genvoya. This is because your kidneys help get rid of a Genvoya dose. If you have severe kidney problems, your body may not clear Genvoya as well. This can raise your risk for side effects, including serious ones. If you have kidney problems, your doctor can determine whether Genvoya is a safe option for you.
  • Liver problems. Doctors typically won’t prescribe Genvoya to people with severe liver problems. This is because your liver helps clear Genvoya from your body. If you have severe liver problems, your body may not get rid of Genvoya as well. This can raise your risk for side effects, including serious ones. If you have liver problems, talk with your doctor about whether Genvoya is safe for you.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Genvoya or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Genvoya. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.

Genvoya and alcohol

There’s no known interaction between alcohol and Genvoya. But both Genvoya and alcohol can cause liver problems. Drinking alcohol while taking Genvoya could raise your risk for this side effect.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much may be safe to drink while you’re taking Genvoya.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Taking Genvoya during pregnancy isn’t recommended. This is because pregnancy can cause Genvoya levels in your body to become too low. This can make the drug less effective.

If you and your doctor decide that you’ll take Genvoya while pregnant, consider joining the antiretroviral pregnancy registry. Pregnancy registries collect data on the safety of using certain drugs, such as Genvoya, during pregnancy. Doctors and patients use the information from these registries to make decisions about their care.

To learn more, including how to join the registry, call 800-258-4263.

Breastfeeding isn’t recommended if you have HIV. This is because the virus may pass to your child through breast milk. Your doctor can discuss other feeding options with you.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Genvoya in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. A program called Advancing Access may also be available for Genvoya.

You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Genvoya that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Form

Genvoya comes as a tablet that you swallow.

Recommended dosage

You’ll take Genvoya once per day.

Questions about Genvoya’s dosage

Below are some common questions about Genvoya’s dosage.

  • What if I miss a dose of Genvoya? If you miss a dose of Genvoya, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose as scheduled. Do not take more than one dose of Genvoya at a time, because this could raise your risk of side effects. It’s important that you take Genvoya every day as directed by your doctor. Missing doses of Genvoya can lead to resistance (when the drug is no longer effective at treating HIV).
  • Will I need to use Genvoya long term? You’ll likely take Genvoya long term if you and your doctor agree that it’s working well and is safe for you.
  • How long does Genvoya take to work? Genvoya begins working right away. But as with other HIV drugs, it can take 24 to 48 weeks before the drug causes HIV levels to become undetectable. If you have questions about what to expect from your Genvoya treatment, talk with your doctor.

Genvoya and Biktarvy are both medications prescribed to treat HIV in adults and some children in certain situations.

For more about how Genvoya and Biktarvy are alike and different, check out this side-by-side comparison. Your doctor can also tell you more about how these drugs compare.

Genvoya and Stribild are brand-name medications that may be prescribed to treat HIV in adults and some children in certain situations.

To learn about how Genvoya and Stribild compare, see this article. You can also ask your doctor if one of these drugs may be right for you.

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Genvoya.

What should I know about alternatives to Genvoya, such as Dovato, Truvada, and Descovy?

Genvoya, Dovato, Truvada, and Descovy are all prescription medications used to treat HIV in certain people.

Truvada and Descovy may be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP involves taking HIV drugs before possible HIV exposure to prevent contracting the virus. But Dovato and Genvoya are not used for PrEP.

Talk with your doctor to determine the best HIV medication for you. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about alternatives to Genvoya for treating HIV.

Does Genvoya cause weight gain or weight loss?

No. In studies, people taking Genvoya didn’t report changes in weight. Other HIV drugs such as raltegravir (Isentress) may cause weight gain, but this isn’t a side effect of Genvoya.

Having HIV can lead to weight loss. Some people who’ve lost weight due to HIV may gain the weight back once they begin treatment for their condition.

If you have concerns about weight gain or weight loss while taking Genvoya, talk with your doctor.

Could Genvoya cause a false positive on a drug test?

No, Genvoya isn’t known to cause false positives on a drug test. (A false positive occurs when test results are positive for certain drugs that haven’t been used.)

Efavirenz (Sustiva), another drug used to treat HIV, is known to cause false positives for certain drugs, including cannabis and benzodiazepines. But Genvoya isn’t known to cause this effect.

Does Genvoya cause pancreatitis?

No, Genvoya doesn’t cause pancreatitis. This wasn’t seen in the drug’s studies.

Pancreatitis has been reported with some older drugs used to treat HIV, including didanosine and stavudine. (Didanosine and stavudine are no longer available in the United States and have been replaced by newer medications for HIV). But Genvoya isn’t known to cause this side effect.

It’s important to note that pancreatitis has been reported in people taking certain newer HIV drugs. These include medications from two groups of drugs called integrase inhibitors and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Genvoya contains medications from both of these drug groups, but Genvoya itself isn’t known to cause pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis can be mild or severe and may include:

Call your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of pancreatitis while taking Genvoya. But go to the emergency room or call 911 (or your local emergency number) if your symptoms feel life threatening.

Could I experience hair loss during my Genvoya treatment?

No, Genvoya shouldn’t cause hair loss. This wasn’t a side effect reported in the drug’s studies.

Older drugs previously used to treat HIV were known to cause hair loss. But Genvoya is a newer type of HIV drug that doesn’t cause hair loss.

If you’re concerned about hair loss during your treatment, talk with your doctor.

Is depression a side effect of Genvoya?

No, Genvoya isn’t known to cause depression. This wasn’t a side effect seen in studies of the drug.

In Genvoya’s studies, there were very rare reports of suicidal thoughts or behaviors among people with a history of depression. The risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors wasn’t seen in people who’d never had depression.

Before you start taking Genvoya, tell your doctor if you have depression or other mental health conditions or have had them in the past. Call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the closest emergency room if you experience suicidal thoughts while taking Genvoya.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Genvoya. They will also explain how much to take and how often to take it. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking Genvoya

Genvoya comes as a tablet that you swallow.

Accessible medication containers and labels

If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Also, if you’re having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Genvoya in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

Taking Genvoya with other drugs

Genvoya is a complete treatment for HIV. This means you won’t take other HIV medications, such as darunavir (Prezista), with Genvoya.

Questions about taking Genvoya

Below are some common questions about taking Genvoya.

  • Can Genvoya be chewed, crushed, or split? Genvoya tablets should not be chewed or crushed, but they may be split in half. It’s not uncommon to have trouble swallowing pills. Your pharmacist or doctor can suggest methods for swallowing a pill.
  • Should I take Genvoya with food? Yes, you should take Genvoya with food. To help remember to take your dose, you may want to take it with the same meal every day.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Genvoya? No, there’s no best time of day to take Genvoya. But try and take your dose at around the same time each day. This helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Genvoya and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Genvoya affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Don’t take more Genvoya than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

What to do in case you take too much Genvoya

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Genvoya. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have HIV, your doctor may suggest Genvoya for you. Before starting treatment, talk with your doctor. Ask them questions that help you feel comfortable with Genvoya. Some examples of questions you may want to ask include:

  • What should I know about Genvoya’s storage and expiration?
  • Is it safe to eat grapefruit during my Genvoya treatment?
  • What should I know about alternatives to Genvoya?

You may also be interested in learning more about living with HIV.

Q:

Will I need to have lab o blood tests done during my Genvoya treatment?

Anonymous

A:

Yes, certain lab tests are recommended before and during your Genvoya treatment. These include a blood test for hepatitis B.

Other lab tests you may have during Genvoya treatment include:

These tests will check how well your kidneys are working. Because Genvoya can cause serious kidney problems in rare cases, it’s important for your doctor to regularly check your kidney function. They’ll tell you often you’ll need to have these tests while you’re taking Genvoya.

The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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 another 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.