Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Bones: Emtricitabine - tenofovir may weaken bones. Your doctor may monitor your bone mass while you are taking this medication, especially if you are at risk for bone fracture or for disease of the bone. If you experience unexplained bone pain or break a bone, contact your doctor. Your doctor may want you to start taking vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Fat redistribution: This medication may change how fat is distributed on your body. With long-term use, fat may accumulate on the stomach, back, and breasts and be reduced on the arm, legs, and face. Notify your doctor if you start developing any changes in your body's appearance.
Hepatitis B: The safe use of this medication has not been established for people who are also infected with hepatitis B. Your doctor may test you for hepatitis B infection before starting you on this medication. If a person who also has hepatitis B takes this medication to treat HIV for people who also have hepatitis B, worsening of hepatitis B may occur. Your doctor will monitor your liver function closely while you are taking emtricitabine - tenofovir.
Immune reconstitution syndrome: This medication may cause immune reconstitution syndrome, where signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections appear. These symptoms occur soon after starting anti-HIV medication and can vary. They are thought to occur as a result of the immune system improving and being able to fight infections that have been present without symptoms (such as pneumonia, herpes, hepatitis, or tuberculosis). Report any new symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause emtricitabine - tenofovir to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may also need to change the dosing schedule of this medication if you have existing kidney problems.
Tenofovir can cause kidney problems, including severe kidney damage and kidney failure. Your doctor may monitor your kidney function with blood tests while you are taking this medication. Additional tests may be needed if you have a history of kidney problems or if you need to take another medication that can cause kidney problems.
If you experience signs of reduced kidney function, such as decreased urination, nausea, vomiting, or swelling of the feet and ankles, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Lactic acidosis and enlarged liver: This medication can cause a rare but serious condition called lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid), together with an enlarged fatty liver. Your doctor will periodically monitor you and perform laboratory tests to check your liver function. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of this condition, such as:
- feeling cold
- irregular heartbeat
- stomach pain
Liver problems: This medication can cause liver problems. Your doctor may monitor your liver function while you are taking this medication, especially if you have risk factors for liver problems. Tell your doctor immediately about any signs of liver problems, such as:
- dark urine
- loss of appetite
- pale stools
- weight loss
- yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
Pancreatitis: This medication may cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). If you have a history of or are at risk for developing pancreatitis, you should be closely monitored by your doctor while taking this medication. Contact your doctor if you develop signs of pancreatitis, such as:
- back pain
- rapid heartbeat
- swollen abdomen
- upper left abdominal pain
Pre-exposure prophylaxis: If you are using this medication for PrEP you will need to undergo screening for HIV before starting this medication and every 3 months while taking this medication. Discuss with your doctor if develop any symptoms of a flu-like illness, such as tiredness, fever, night sweats, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, joint or muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. These symptoms may be signs of an HIV infection.
While you are taking emtricitabine - tenofovir, it is very important to practice safer sex at all times. Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Latex condoms should be used in addition to this medication.
Pregnancy: The medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if emtricitabine or tenofovir pass into breast milk. Because HIV can be transmitted by breast milk, women who have HIV should not breast-feed.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.