Emtricitabine (By mouth)
Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Emtricitabine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but combinations of drugs may slow the progress of the disease.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
How to Use This Medicine
- Take your medicine as directed.
- Emtricitabine is used with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your combination treatment.
- Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
- Keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better.
- You should take this medicine every day and try not to miss any doses. Contact your doctor or pharmacist when your supply is running low. Do not allow yourself to run out of medicine.
- Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
- Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the capsules in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- It is best to store the oral liquid in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. If you must keep the liquid at room temperature, throw away any unused liquid after 3 months.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using lamivudine, Atripla®, Combivir®, Complera®, Epivir®, Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Stribild?, Trizivir®, or Truvada®. You should not use these medicines with emtricitabine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney disease or liver disease, especially hepatitis B.
- Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
- Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (build-up of acid in the blood) and an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you feel very tired, weak, or nauseated, if you vomit or have trouble breathing, or if your skin or eyes have turned yellow.
- Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as Graves disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.
- This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as more fat in your upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, and face.
- This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to others. Always practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
- Do not change your dose or stop taking this medicine, even for a short time, without talking to your doctor.
- Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Change in how much or how often you urinate
- Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
- Extreme weakness, tiredness, or confusion
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Lightheadedness or fainting
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Changes to skin color on your hands or feet
- Cough, stuffy or runny nose
- Diarrhea, nausea
- Headache or dizziness
- Mild rash
- Tiredness or weakness
- Unusual dreams, trouble sleeping
- Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last reviewed on 8/4/2014
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