Complera is a combination medication approved to treat HIV and AIDS. Because it contains three different medications, it is considered a complete regimen for HIV treatment. It is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, but it can help prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells. This drug comes in tablet form and is taken once daily with a meal. Side effects may include insomnia and headaches.
What Is Complera?
Complera™ (emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a prescription medicine used as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. It is an oral medication that is taken just once a day. Complera contains three different HIV medications and can be used as a "complete" regimen for HIV treatment.
This medication contains three different active ingredients. Tenofovir is a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI). Emtricitabine belongs to a group of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Rilpivirine is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI).
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) 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.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Complera [package insert]. Foster City, CA: Gilead Sciences, Inc.;2013 December.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 7, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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