Truvada Side Effects

Truvada contains a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir. Emtricitabine and tenofovir are antiviral drugs that work by preventing HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) cells from multiplying in the body.

Truvada is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Truvada is also used to to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who do not have HIV, but who are at high risk of HIV infection. This medicine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

You should not take Truvada if you are allergic to emtricitabine (Emtriva) or tenofovir (Viread). Do not take this medication with other medicines that also contain emtricitabine or tenofovir (Atripla, Emtriva, Viread), or lamivudine (Combivir, Epivir, Epzicom, or Trizivir).

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need an Truvada dose adjustment or special tests:

  • liver or kidney disease;
  • osteopenia (low bone mineral density); or
  • if you also have hepatitis B infection.

Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking Truvada. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, if you are a woman, or if you have taken HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

FDA pregnancy category B. Truvada is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment with Truvada. HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of Truvada on the baby.

Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk. Do not give Truvada to anyone under 18 without the advice of a doctor.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Truvada: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Truvada may cause lactic acidosis (a build-up of lactic acid in the body, which can be fatal). Lactic acidosis can start slowly and get worse over time. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as:

  • muscle pain or weakness;
  • numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs;
  • trouble breathing;
  • feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak;
  • stomach pain, nausea with vomiting; or
  • fast or uneven heart rate.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects while taking Truvada:

  • signs of liver damage – nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • increased thirst, urinating more or less than usual or not at all;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath; or
  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, skin lesions, or cough with yellow or green mucus.

Less serious Truvada side effects may include:

  • diarrhea, mild nausea;
  • headache, tired feeling;
  • dizziness, depressed mood;
  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;
  • mild itching or skin rash;
  • runny or stuffy nose, cough; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

This is not a complete list of Truvada side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.