What Is Emtriva?
) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of AIDS
. It is approved for use only in combination with other HIV medications.
Who Makes Emtriva?
Emtriva is made by Gilead Sciences, Inc.
How Does This Medication Work?
Emtriva is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). NRTI medications work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. Like other viruses, it must use a person's own cells to reproduce. However, HIV is a little different from 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 molecular building-blocks.
Emtriva works by tricking reverse transcriptase into thinking it is one of these molecular building-blocks. However, it is just different enough that when used to create DNA, the drug actually stops the DNA from being made. Without DNA, HIV cannot multiply.
This medicine 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.