Truvada is an HIV and AIDS medication that is often prescribed with other drugs as part of an HIV "cocktail." It is a combination drug that has components from two different classes of HIV medicines. While the medication is not a cure, it can help prevent HIV from affecting uninfected cells in the body. Side effects may include diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
Truvada® (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a prescription medication used as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. It is approved for use only in combination with other HIV medications. Truvada contains two different medications: emtricitabine (Emtriva®) and tenofovir (Viread®). Truvada, when used in combination with safer sex practices, is also approved for preventing HIV in certain people with a high risk for contracting HIV.
Truvada is made by Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Tenofovir (one of the components) is currently the only medication in a class of HIV medications known as nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NtRTIs). Emtricitabine (the other component) belongs to a group of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Truvada works 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 many 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.
Truvada 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, Truvada actually stops the DNA from being made. Without DNA, HIV cannot multiply. This medication is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, however. It can help stop HIV from infecting healthy cells in the body, but it does not help cells that have already been infected.