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All about: Emtriva

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Generic Name: emtricitabine (em trye SYE ta been)
Brand Names: Emtriva

What is emtricitabine?

Emtricitabine is an antiviral medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Emtricitabine works by preventing HIV cells from multiplying in the body.

Emtricitabine is used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Emtricitabine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Emtricitabine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about emtricitabine?

This medication may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Emtricitabine may also cause severe liver damage, which can be fatal. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms of liver problems: nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Treatment of HIV/AIDS almost always requires using many medicines together. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex, such as using a condom and spermicide. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking emtricitabine?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to emtricitabine, or if you are also using:
  • emtricitabine and tenofovir (Truvada);
  • efavirenz, emtricitamine, and tenofovir (Atripla); or

  • any medication containing lamivudine (Combivir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV, Epzicom, or Trizivir).

Before taking emtricitabine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
  • kidney disease;
  • hepatitis B (HBV) infection;

  • tuberculosis;
  • pneumonia; or

  • cytomegalovirus.

If you have any of the conditions listed above, you may not be able to use emtricitabine or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using this medication.

You should not breast-feed while you are using emtricitabine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

How should I take emtricitabine?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take emtricitabine with a full glass of water.

Emtricitabine can be taken with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day to get the most benefit.

Treatment of HIV/AIDS almost always requires using many medicines together. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store emtricitabine at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and direct light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an emtricitabine overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking emtricitabine?

Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex, such as using a condom and spermicide. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Emtricitabine side effects

Emtricitabine may cause lactic acidosis or severe liver damage, which can be fatal. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, which may be early signs of lactic acidosis or liver problems: nausea, vomiting, or sudden stomach pain; weak or tired feeling; dizziness or lightheadedness; fast or irregular heartbeats; feeling short of breath; cold feeling, especially in the arms and legs; jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or pain in the upper stomach area. Stop using emtricitabine and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction : hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Early in your treatment with emtricitabine, you may have a flare-up of other infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, or cytomegalovirus. Contact your doctor if you develop any possible symptoms of other infections, such as fever, chills, sore throat, cough, flu symptoms, or problems with breathing or vision.

Keep taking emtricitabine and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • headache;

  • nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • darkened patches of skin on the palms and/or soles;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • cough, runny nose;

  • skin rash; or

  • change in the shape or location of body fat (especially in the arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect emtricitabine?

There may be other drugs that can affect emtricitabine, making it less effective or making side effects more likely to occur. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about emtricitabine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Emtricitabine is available with a prescription under the brand name Emtriva. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Emtriva 200 mg-blue and white capsules

  • 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
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.07. Revision Date: 03/12/2007 12:40:11.

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