Emtriva Warnings and Precautions

In order to ensure a safe treatment process, it is important to be aware of Emtriva warnings and precautions. These include knowing about the possible drug interactions, being aware that missing doses of Emtriva could cause the HIV virus to build a resistance to the medication, and understanding that Emtriva will not cure HIV or AIDS. Emtriva warnings and precautions also apply to anyone who is allergic to any of the ingredients used to make the medication.

Emtriva: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Emtriva® (emtricitabine) if you have:
  • Hepatitis B
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Neutropenia, or any other low blood count or blood disorder
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Emtriva

Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Emtriva include the following:
  • Rarely, Emtriva can cause lactic acidosis or hepatic steatosis. These conditions are caused by damage to the liver and can be very dangerous. You are at a higher risk for these side effects if you have liver disease.
  • If you have hepatitis B, it is possible that your hepatitis B infection may worsen if you stop taking Emtriva. If you have hepatitis B and you stop taking Emtriva, your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely. Emtriva has not been studied in people who are infected with both HIV and hepatitis B.
  • Emtriva can cause bone marrow depression, which means that it can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can lead to a variety of problems, such as anemia, frequent infections, or bleeding. Your healthcare provider should check your blood counts frequently while you are taking Emtriva.
  • Emtriva can change the distribution of fat on your body. You may gain fat in areas that are not typical for you, such as in the abdomen or at the back of the neck (a "buffalo hump"), and you may lose weight in other areas.
  • Emtriva is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. If you have HIV or AIDS, you should always use safer sex practices, regardless of whether you are taking medications.
  • As with all HIV medications, it is important that you take Emtriva exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.


  • When you first start taking this medication and your immune system begins to recover, a group of problems known as immune reconstitution syndrome may occur. Your immune system may start aggressively reacting to any infections you may have and may cause extreme inflammation. There have even been cases of autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) possibly caused by this problem. 


  • Emtriva can interact with a few different medications (see Emtriva Drug Interactions for more information).
  • Emtriva is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Emtriva and Pregnancy).
  • Emtriva passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Emtriva and Breastfeeding). It is important to understand that the HIV virus can be transmitted through breast milk and that breastfeeding is usually not recommended in women with HIV or AIDS.

Emtriva -- HIV Drug Treatment

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