Emtricitabine (Oral route)
Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues alone or in combination with other antiretrovirals. Emtricitabine is not approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Closely monitor hepatic function in patients co-infected with HBV and HIV-1 for several months after discontinuing emtricitabine because severe, acute exacerbations of hepatitis B have been reported. Initiation of anti-HBV therapy may be warranted .
Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor
Uses of This Medicine:
Emtricitabine is used in combination with other medicines for the treatment of the infection caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Emtricitabine will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS. It helps keep HIV from reproducing and appears to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay problems that are usually related to AIDS or HIV disease from occurring. Emtricitabine will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. People who receive this medicine may continue to have some of the problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine:
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of emtricitabine in children.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of emtricitabine in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart, kidney, or liver problems, which may require caution and an adjustment of dose in patients receiving emtricitabine.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems—
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine:
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow the information carefully. Read it again each time you refill your prescription in case there is new information. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
It is important to take emtricitabine as part of a combination regimen. Take all other medicines your doctor prescribed at the right time of the day. This will make your medicines work better.
Keep taking emtricitabine for the full time of treatment, even if you or your child begin to feel better. Do not stop taking it without checking first with your doctor. When your supply of the medicine is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of the medicine.
You may take this medicine with or without food.
Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the capsules in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
Store the oral liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. If the solution must be stored at room temperature, throw away any unused medicine after 3 months.
Precautions While Using This Medicine:
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Do not use this medicine if you or your child are also taking lamivudine, Atripla®, Combivir®, Complera®, Epivir®, Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Stribild™, Trizivir®, or Truvada®. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child are using any of these medicines. Do not start using emtricitabine until your doctor tells you to.
Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (build up of acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, including an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have abdominal or stomach discomfort or cramping, dark urine, a decreased appetite, diarrhea, general feeling of discomfort, light-colored stools, muscle cramping or pain, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, trouble breathing, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin.
Do not change your dose or stop taking this medicine, even for a short time, without talking to your doctor.
This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child notice changes in your body shape, including an increased amount of body fat in the neck or upper back, face, around the chest, or stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
When you or your child start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you or your child have infections or disorders that are hidden in your body (eg, Graves' disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, polymyositis, pneumonia, tuberculosis), you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away.
Emtricitabine does not decrease the risk of transmitting the HIV infection to others through sexual contact or by contamination through blood. HIV may be acquired from or spread to others through infected body fluids, including blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. If you are infected, it is best to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, always wear (or have your partner wear) a condom (“rubber”). Only use condoms made of latex or polyurethane and use them every time you have contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Also, do not share needles or equipment with anyone or use dirty needles. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Side Effects of This Medicine:
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Last Updated: 6/13/2013
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