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In clinical studies, headache, diarrhea, pain, and nausea were the most commonly reported side effects of Viread. Those that were not as common (occurring in 3 to 5 percent of people) included joint pain, insomnia, and drowsiness. While most Viread side effects are mild, some may require immediate medical attention, such as anxiety, kidney problems, or decreased bone density.

Viread Side Effects: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate); however, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Viread. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Viread side effects with you.)

Common Viread Side Effects

Clinical studies have not evaluated Viread alone for the treatment of HIV, since it is meant to be used along with other HIV medications. In fact, the available information on side effects involves studies that used Viread plus two other HIV medications. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether these side effects are actually due to Viread or the other HIV medications.
In these studies, the most common side effects of Viread (plus two other HIV medications) included:
  • Diarrhea -- in up to 16 percent of people
  • Headaches -- up to 14 percent
  • Pain -- up to 13 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 11 percent
  • Weakness -- up to 11 percent
  • Back pain -- up to 9 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 8 percent
  • Fever -- up to 8 percent
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 7 percent
  • Fatigue -- up to 7 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 7 percent.
Other common side effects (occurring in 3 to 5 percent of people) included:
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Unusual sensations (such as burning, tingling, or numbness) in the feet or hands
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Gas
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Muscle pain
  • Sinus infection
  • Weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Runny nose and sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold).


The most common side effect of Viread when used to treat chronic hepatitis B was nausea (9 percent of people). Other common side effects (occurring in more than 5 percent of people) included abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, the common cold, back pain, and skin rash.


Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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