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emtricitabine

Pronunciation: em trye SYE ta been

Brand: Emtriva

Emtriva 200 mg

capsule, blue/white, imprinted with 200 mg GILEAD

Image of Emtriva 200 mg
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What is the most important information I should know about emtricitabine?

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Some people develop lactic acidosis while taking emtricitabine. Early symptoms may get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

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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).

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using emtricitabine. Visit your doctor regularly.

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Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

What is emtricitabine?

Emtricitabine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Emtricitabine is for treating HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Emtricitabine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Emtricitabine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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

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You should not take emtricitabine if you are allergic to it.

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Emtricitabine should not be taken together with any HIV combination medicine that contains emtricitabine or lamivudine. This includes:

  • Atripla (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir);
  • Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine);
  • Complera (rilpivirine, emtricitabine, and tenofovir);
  • Epivir (lamivudine);
  • Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine);
  • Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine); and
  • Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir).

To make sure you can safely take emtricitabine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease (especially hepatitis B if you also have HIV);
  • kidney disease; or
  • if you have used a medicine similar to emtricitabine in the past, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), lamivudine (Epivir, Combivir, Epzicom, Trizivir), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), or emtricitabine combinations (Atripla, Complera, Truvada).
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Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking emtricitabine. 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. Emtricitabine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. However, 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 emtricitabine on the baby.

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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.

How should I take emtricitabine?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

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Do not take emtricitabine as your only HIV medication. HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

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

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

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If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using emtricitabine. Visit your doctor regularly.

To be sure this medicine is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your liver and kidney function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

If a child is taking this medication, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Emtricitabine doses are based on weight in children.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Your disease may become resistant to emtricitabine if you stop taking the medication even for a short time.

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

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Store emtricitabine liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

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You may store the liquid at room temperature, but you must use it within 3 months.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking emtricitabine?

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Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

What are the possible side effects of emtricitabine?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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This medication 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.
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Stop using emtricitabine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • signs of a new infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or unusual bleeding, loss of appetite, mouth sores;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • increased sweating, tremors in your hands, anxiety, feeling irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex;
  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid);
  • weakness or prickly feeling in your fingers or toes;
  • problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement; or
  • severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache, dizziness;
  • mild diarrhea, mild nausea, upset stomach;
  • darkened patches of skin on your palms and/or soles;
  • strange dreams;
  • cough, runny nose;
  • mild skin rash; or
  • change in the shape or location of body fat (especially in the arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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 medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about emtricitabine.


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.

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