Truvada and Depression

There are many possible side effects of Truvada, and depression appears to be one of them. In clinical studies, 4 percent of people taking the medication reported depression. Since Truvada is always taken with other HIV medications, it can be difficult to determine if depression is caused by Truvada or the other medicines. If you are taking Truvada and depression occurs, notify your healthcare provider.

Is Depression a Truvada Side Effect?

Truvada® (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a prescription HIV/AIDS medication. Depression appears to be one of the possible Truvada side effects. In clinical studies, depression is a complaint that is reported commonly in people taking Truvada. This data comes from clinical trials that extensively studied the drug for the treatment of HIV or AIDS.

Understanding Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are designed to factor out many possible variables in order to understand whether the medicine works and to determine its possible side effects. During a study, some people are given the actual medication, while others are given a placebo (which looks like the actual medication, but does not contain any of the active ingredients). However, sometimes it is unethical to give people a placebo, such as when treating life-threatening conditions, like HIV or AIDS. Therefore, the studies of Truvada did not compare the medication to a placebo.
In clinical studies, depression was reported in 4 percent of people taking Truvada in combination with another HIV medication. However, it is difficult to say with certainty that the drug causes depression, since these studies did not compare Truvada to a placebo and since Truvada was combined with another HIV medication. Without knowing how commonly depression occurs in a similar group of people not taking Truvada, it is not possible to evaluate if the drug actually increases the risk of depression.
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