Atripla

Generic Name: Tenofovir Disoproxil

  • What is Atripla?

    Atripla is an anti-HIV medication that contains three drugs (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Atripla?

    Atripla does not cure HIV/AIDS, nor does it reduce the risk of passing HIV/AIDS to others through sexual contact, sharing needles, or being exposed to your blood.

    Some people who have taken medicine like Atripla have developed a serious condition called lactic acidosis (a buildup of an acid in the blood). Lactic acidosis can be a medical emergency and may need to be treated in the hospital.

    Some people who have taken medicines like Atripla have developed serious liver problems, including an enlarged liver and fat in the liver.

    You have a higher chance of getting lactic acidosis or liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or if you have been taking Atripla or similar products for a long time.

    If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) and stop taking Atripla, you may get a "flare-up" of your hepatitis, wherein the disease suddenly returns in a worse way than it was before.

  • Who should not take Atripla?

    Do not take Atripla if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Atripla while taking bepridil, cisapride, midazolam, triazolam, ergot medications (such as Wigraine and Cafergot), voriconazole, or St. John's wort.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Atripla?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning therapy with Atripla. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of seizures; mental illness; drug or alcohol use; bone problems; or liver (including hepatitis B) and kidney problems (including kidney dialysis treatment). Your doctor should also know if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: The usual dose of Atripla is 1 tablet once daily.

  • How should I take Atripla?

    Atripla should be taken with water on an empty stomach. Take at bedtime to make some side effects less bothersome.

    When your Atripla supply runs low, renew your prescription promptly. This is very important because if the medicine is stopped for even a short time, the amount of HIV in your blood may increase. The HIV may develop resistance to Atripla and may become harder to treat.

  • What should I avoid while taking Atripla?

    Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while taking Atripla. If you do become pregnant, contact your doctor right away.

    Avoid sharing needles or other injection equipment. Do not share personal items that can have blood or bodily fluids on them, such as toothbrushes or razor blades. Do not have any unprotected sex.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Atripla?

    The following medicines may cause serious and life-threatening side effects when taken with Atripla. You should not take any of these medicines while taking Atripla: adefovir dipivoxil, bepridil, cisapride, midazolam, pimozide, triazolam, voriconazole, and ergot medications (such as Wigraine and Cafergot).

    Atripla also should not be used with these anti-HIV drugs: Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine); Emtriva, Epivir, Epivir-HBV (lamivudine); Epzicom (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine); Trizivir (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine), Sustiva (efavirenz); Truvada (emtricitabine), or Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate).

    Also, do not take Atripla with the herb, St. John's wort.

    If you take medicines for seizures such as Tegretol (carbamazepine), phenobarbital, or Dilantin (phenytoin), your doctor may want to switch you to another medicine or check drug levels in your blood from time to time.

  • What are the possible side effects of Atripla?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: lactic acidosis, serious liver problems, flare-ups of HBV infection, serious psychiatric problems, kidney problems, changes in bone mineral density (thinning bones), changes in body fat, skin discoloration, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, gas, headache, rash, tiredness, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, upset stomach, vomiting

    Symptoms of lactic acidosis include: cold feeling in arms and legs, dizzy/lightheadedness, fast/irregular heartbeat, muscle pain, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, tired/weak feeling, trouble breathing

    Symptoms of liver problems include: dark urine, skin/whites of eyes turn yellow (jaundice), light-colored bowel movements, loss of appetite, nausea, lower stomach area pain

    If you experience symptoms of either lactic acidosis or liver problems, contact your doctor right away.

  • Can I receive Atripla if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Women should not become pregnant while taking Atripla and for 12 weeks after stopping it. Serious birth defects may result. Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant or if you want to become pregnant.

    Women should not rely only on hormone-based birth control, such as pills, injections, or implants, because Atripla may make these contraceptives ineffective. Women must use a reliable form of barrier contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm, even if they also use other methods of birth control. Efavirenz, a component of Atripla, may remain in your blood for a time after therapy is stopped. Therefore, you should continue to use contraceptive measures for 12 weeks after you stop taking Atripla.

    Do not breastfeed if you are taking Atripla, as it may pass through breast milk and cause serious harm to the baby. Talk with your doctor about whether you should stop breastfeeding or use a different medicine.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Atripla?

    Do not miss a dose of Atripla. If you forget to take Atripla, take the missed dose right away, unless it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Atripla?

    Store at room temperature. Keep Atripla in its original container, which should be tightly closed.

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I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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