Truvada Warnings and Precautions

Prior to taking Truvada, warnings and precautions should be discussed with your healthcare provider to ensure the drug is right for you. Truvada has been shown to decrease bone density, worsen hepatitis B infections, and change body fat distribution in some people. Truvada warnings and precautions also extend to people who have liver or kidney disease, osteoporosis, or any allergies.

Truvada: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Truvada® (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) if you have:
  • Hepatitis B
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Osteoporosis or other bone problems
  • 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 Truvada Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Truvada include the following:
  • Stopping Truvada may make a hepatitis B infection worse. This could lead to liver failure. If you stop taking Truvada and have hepatitis B, you will need to be monitored for several months to make sure your infection is not getting worse.


  • In rare cases, Truvada 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.
  • Truvada 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 the medication from the blood, and Truvada can damage the kidneys. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any kidney problems. For people with poor kidney function, Truvada can be used at reduced or less frequent doses for treating HIV, but should not be used at all for HIV prevention. In addition, people with kidney problems may be at a higher risk for kidney damage due to the medication.


  • When you first start taking HIV medications 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.


  • When used for HIV prevention instead of treatment, Truvada should be used only in people who definitely do not have HIV. Frequent HIV testing (at least every three months) is recommended during treatment. When used for HIV prevention, safer sex practices are essential, since the drug does not completely eliminate the risk for contracting HIV.
  • Truvada can decrease bone density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones. Your healthcare provider should check your bone density while you are 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.
  • Truvada is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. If you have 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 Truvada exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.
  • Truvada can interact with a number of different medications (see Truvada Drug Interactions).
  • Truvada 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 Truvada and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Truvada 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 Truvada 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.

Truvada HIV Medicine

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