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Talk with your healthcare provider about Viread warnings and precautions prior to taking the drug to help ensure that it is suitable for you. For example, Viread may cause problems in people with osteoporosis or kidney problems. Viread warnings and precautions also apply to people with liver disease, kidney disease, or anemia.

Viread: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) if you have:
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Osteoporosis or other bone problems
  • Anemia, 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 other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Viread Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Viread include the following:
  • In rare cases, the medication can cause a condition called lactic acidosis and hepatic steatosis. It is caused by damage to the liver and can be very dangerous. You are at higher risk for this side effect if you have liver disease.
  • Stopping Viread may make a hepatitis B infection worse. If you have hepatitis B and stop taking Viread, you may need to be monitored more closely to make sure your infection is not getting worse.
  • Viread 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 may lose weight in other areas.
  • The kidneys help remove Viread from the blood, and the medication can damage the kidneys. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any kidney problems, as you may need a lower Viread dosage (and you may be at a higher risk for kidney damage as a result).
  • Viread can decrease bone density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones. Your healthcare provider should check your bone density while taking the medication, especially if you have had a broken bone in the past. Ask your healthcare provider if you should take calcium and vitamin D, as this may help strengthen your bones.


  • 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. 


  • Viread is not a cure for hepatitis B, HIV, or AIDS. You should always use safer sex practices, whether or not you are taking medications.
  • As with all HIV medications, it is important that you take Viread exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.
  • Viread can interact with a number of different medications (see Viread Drug Interactions).
  • Viread 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 Viread and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Viread passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Viread 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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