AIDS Home > Complera Uses

How Does It Work?

This medication contains three different active ingredients, including:
  • Tenofovir, a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI)
  • Emtricitabine, a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)
  • Rilpivirine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI).
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Like other viruses, HIV must use a person's own cells to reproduce. However, HIV is different from many other viruses because it must first convert its genetic material from RNA to DNA. It is the DNA genes that allow HIV to multiply.
HIV converts its genetic material by using a special protein called the reverse transcriptase enzyme. To create DNA, this enzyme uses several different protein building blocks.
Emtricitabine and tenofovir each work by tricking reverse transcriptase into thinking the drugs are actually one of these protein building blocks. However, emtricitabine and tenofovir are just different enough that when used to create DNA, they actually stop the DNA from being made. Rilpivirine works by attaching to the reverse transcriptase enzyme, stopping it from making DNA. Without DNA, HIV cannot multiply.
Complera is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. Although it can help stop HIV from infecting healthy cells in the body, it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.

Is It Safe for Use in Children?

Complera is approved for use in adults only, as it has not been adequately studied for use in children.

Off-Label Uses for Complera

On occasion, healthcare providers may recommend medicines for treating something other than the approved uses. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are no universally accepted off-label uses for Complera.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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