Just a few questions from our Pharmacist before you checkout to make sure this medicine is safe for you.
What is PrEP Emtricitabine/Tenofovir (Generic Truvada)?
Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets are a type of HIV medication known as PrEP and are the generic form of a medicine called Truvada. It’s designed for people who are HIV negative but are at high risk of exposure to HIV, helping to reduce your chances of catching the virus from sex by up to 99% when used as recommended. If you have a HIV positive partner, are unaware of the HIV status of your sexual partners, are at risk of being exposed to HIV through recreational drug use, or are at high risk of HIV for any other reason, this product can help to keep your HIV negative status negative.
What does PrEP stand for?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, which means it’s a type of medication that can be used to offer you protection before you’re exposed to HIV. PrEP products like Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets can effectively reduce your chances of contracting HIV and can be used with other precautions, such as condoms, to add another layer of protection from the virus. PrEP is taken every day to maintain your protection for as long as you need it.
Are PrEP and PEP the same thing?
PEP is another type of HIV medication which is not the same as PrEP. PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis, which means it’s used after you have been exposed to HIV to reduce your chances of becoming infected. PEP should be started within 72 hours of potential exposure to HIV and is taken every day for a month.
Should I be using PrEP or PEP?
Whether you should use PrEP or PEP depends on whether you have already been exposed to HIV or not. If you have been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours and aren’t already taking PrEP, then you should take PEP to help prevent infection. If you have not been exposed to HIV yet but are at high risk of exposure, you should begin taking PrEP to help protect yourself from future exposure.
How do Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets help to reduce my chances of catching HIV?
Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets are a kind of PrEP that uses the active ingredients emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil which are antiretroviral drugs. These ingredients work together to prevent HIV by blocking an enzyme that the HIV virus needs to reproduce. This helps to keep it from spreading and offers you protection if you’re exposed to HIV through sex, injections, or other methods of transmission.
How effective is PrEP?
If you take PrEP as recommended by its manufacturer, it will be 92 – 99% effective at reducing your risk of catching HIV. You must remember to take PrEP every day if you want it to be as effective as possible, so you may want to consider setting a daily alarm or reminder that will help you to take your tablets on time.
How long does PrEP take to work?
PrEP takes around 7 days to become effective if you take it every day, as recommended by the manufacturers. This is another reason why it’s so important to remember to take your tablet every day, especially if you’re preparing to have anal sex using the on-demand dosing method.
What is HIV?
HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, is a type of virus which affects your immune system. By weakening your immune system, HIV makes it more difficult for your body to fight off everyday illnesses, like infections or the flu. When your immune system has been severely damaged by HIV, you may develop AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses, which can be potentially life-threatening. However, if HIV is discovered early and treated effectively, the chances of developing AIDS-related illnesses become much lower, and most people will never experience it at all.
Are there any symptoms of HIV I should look out for?
If you’ve been infected with HIV then you will probably notice a short flu-like illness within the first 2 – 6 weeks after you were exposed to the virus. Some of the most common symptoms you’ll experience when this happens include:
- A fever or high temperature
- Sore throat
- Feeling tired
- Joint and muscle pain
- Swollen glands
Although 80% of people experience this flu-like illness during the first few weeks of being exposed to HIV, it isn’t a sure-fire indicator of whether you’ve caught the virus. If you’re at all concerned that you may have caught HIV, make sure to speak to your doctor immediately.
Is there anything else I can do to help prevent HIV?
HIV is an infectious virus which can pass from person to person through bodily fluids, which is why the most common way that people catch HIV is by having vaginal or anal sex without a condom. HIV can also be passed to someone else if you share a needle or syringe, or from a mother to their child during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Aside from taking products like PrEP and PEP, some of the most effective ways you can prevent HIV include:
- Using a condom when you have sex
- Using water-based lube when you have sex, which can help to keep condoms from tearing and prevent tears in the anal or vaginal walls during sex
- If you use recreational drugs, do not share any needles, syringes, or other injecting equipment with anyone else
- Reducing your viral load to undetectable levels by using treatment as prevention
Are PrEP, Emtricitabine/Tenofovir, and Truvada the same thing?
PrEP, Emtricitabine/Tenofovir, and Truvada aren’t all the same thing, although we can see where the confusion comes from. PrEP is a type of drug, like pain relief or cold medicine, and Emtricitabine/Tenofovir and Truvada are used as PrEP. For example, if paracetamol is used as pain relief, Truvada is used as PrEP.
Is Emtricitabine/Tenofovir generic Truvada?
Yes, Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets are the generic form of the medication called Truvada. Truvada is simply a brand name for a medicine that contains Emtricitabine and Tenofovir as its active ingredients, making these two products essentially the same medication.
Can I take Emtricitabine/Tenofovir if I already have HIV?
If you are HIV positive, you may be prescribed Emtricitabine/Tenofovir to treat your HIV, but you should not use this product as PrEP. PrEP products are designed to be taken as a preventative measure by those who are HIV negative to help them to keep their negative status. If you have HIV and your doctor has recommended that you take Emtricitabine/Tenofovir, then you should always take it with other HIV treatments. With this in mind, make sure that you take this product as your doctor recommends so you can be sure that you’re taking the right amounts of each treatment at the right times.
Will PrEP protect me from STIs?
Although PrEP can help to reduce the risk of you catching the HIV infection, it will not prevent you from catching HIV entirely, or protect you from any other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, etc. If you’re concerned about catching an STI, including HIV, you should always use a condom to protect yourself during any kind of sexual activity.
What is the usual dose of Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets?
You should always take these tablets as you have been instructed to do so by your doctor. However, the most common doses you will be given are as follows:
- Treating HIV in adults: Take one tablet every day, with food whenever possible
- Treating HIV in adolescents aged 12 – 18 who weigh more than 35kg (5.5 stone): Take one tablet every day, with food whenever possible
- Reducing the risk of HIV in adults: Take one tablet every day, with food whenever possible
- Reducing the risk of HIV in adolescents aged 12 – 18 who weigh more than 35kg (5.5 stone): Take one tablet every day, with food whenever possible
What is on-demand dosing?
On-demand dosing is when you take PrEP to prepare for a time when you know you’ll be at high risk of HIV. For example, some people don’t take PrEP all the time but may take it before they go on holiday or before a party or other social event. As PrEP takes a week to become effective in your system, to use the on-demand method you would start taking your tablets 7 days before the event. You would then need to continue taking your tablets until you no longer need protection (for example, until the end of your holiday) and then for an extra 7 days. So, if you went for a weeklong holiday, you would take PrEP for one week before your holiday, the week of your holiday itself, and for a week after your holiday.
When should this product not be used?
Emtricitabine/tenofovir is not suitable for use in children under the age of 12. If you are over the age of 65 speak to your doctor before taking this product. Do not take this product if you are allergic to emtricitabine, tenofovir, or any of the other listed ingredients. Speak to your doctor before taking this product if you:
- Have recently experienced a flu-like illness
- Are unsure whether you have HIV or think you may have recently been infected with HIV
- Have kidney disease or other kidney problems
- Have any bone problems
- Have a history of liver disease, including hepatitis
- Are unsure whether you have hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- Are intolerant to some sugars, as this product contains lactose
Can I take these tablets if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication. PrEP should not be taken during pregnancy unless it is absolutely necessary and should only be done so if your doctor has told you to do so. If you do take this product during pregnancy, then your doctor may wish to request regular blood tests and other diagnostic testing throughout your pregnancy so they can monitor your baby’s development. You should not breastfeed while you’re taking this product, as the active ingredients can pass into your milk and to your baby. If you are HIV positive, we recommend that you should not breastfeed, as this will help to avoid passing HIV to your baby.
Can I take this product with other medication?
If you’re taking any other medication, including those you have obtained without a prescription, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking emtricitabine/tenofovir. This especially applies if you are already taking:
- Other antiviral medicines
- Aminoglycosides, which are used for bacterial infection
- Amphotericin B, which is used for fungal infections
- Foscarnet, which is used for viral infections
- Ganciclovir, which is used for viral infections
- Pentamidine, which is used for infections
- Vancomycin, which is used for bacterial infection
- Interleukin-2, which is used to treat cancer
- Cidofovir, which is used for viral infections
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are used to ease pain, e.g. ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, etc.
- Protease inhibitors, which are used to treat HIV
- Medicines to treat hepatitis C
Can I drink alcohol while I’m taking this product?
Alcohol is not known to interact with PrEP, so you can take your tablet after a night out without having to worry about whether it will be effective. You can also take PrEP after taking recreational drugs without having to worry about potential interactions.
Can I drive after taking this medication?
You may feel dizzy after taking emtricitabine/tenofovir, which may affect your ability to drive. If this happens to you, do not attempt to drive or operate any tools or machinery until you are absolutely sure that you are safe to do so.
Does Emtricitabine/Tenofovir (Generic Truvada) have any side effects?
Like all medications, Emtricitabine/Tenofovir tablets can have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. If you notice any of the following serious side effects, stop use and seek medical help immediately:
- Lactic acidosis, showing symptoms including deep rapid breathing, drowsiness, feeling or being sick, stomach pain
- Any signs of inflammation or infection
- Autoimmune disorders, which may cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, weakness beginning in the hands and feet moving up towards your body, palpitations, tremor, or hyperactivity
For a complete list of potential side effects of this medication, please read the patient information leaflet included with your medicine carefully. If you experience these or any other side effects, speak to your doctor right away. For more information about reporting the side effects of medication, please see the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place which is below 25 degrees C. Do not take this product if the expiry date printed on the original packaging has passed. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk
If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.
Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.
Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.
Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.
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The active substances are emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil. Each film-coated tablet contains 200 mg of emtricitabine and 245 mg of tenofovir disoproxil (equivalent to 300 mg of tenofovir disoproxil maleate)
The other ingredients are cellulose microcrystalline, hydroxypropyl cellulose, low-substituted, iron oxide red (E172), silica colloidal anhydrous, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, titanium dioxide (E171), triacetin, brilliant blue FCF aluminum lake (E133) and iron oxide yellow (E172).
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