What Is the Drug Emtricitabine Used For?

Medically Reviewed on 11/2/2022
What Is the Drug Emtricitabine Used For
Emtricitabine works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood and may help prevent HIV-related complications

Emtricitabine, a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, is a prescription drug used to treat HIV infection along with other HIV drugs such as tenofovir.

Emtricitabine works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood and may help prevent HIV-related complications by protecting immunity.

What is emtricitabine?

Emtricitabine belongs to a group of antiretroviral medicines and is used to treat AIDS or HIV infections in children and adults. Emtricitabine is always used with other antiretroviral drugs to increase its effectiveness. 

Emtricitabine slows the progression of HIV infection in the body but does not cure it completely. It reduces the risk of transmission.

The drug is used as prophylactic medicine (used to prevent the disease from occurring) in children and adults at high risk.

What is the recommended dosage for emtricitabine?

Dosages vary from person to person and are determined by the strength of the medication, the number of doses taken per day, and the interval between doses. The duration of treatment is determined by the medical condition for which you are taking emtricitabine.

For HIV infection in adults

  • Capsule 200 mg orally per day.
  • Oral solution 240 mg orally per day.

For HIV infection in children

  • Oral solution: 3 mg/kg orally per day for children younger than 3 months; 6 mg/kg orally per day but should not exceed 240 mg per day for children 3 months to 17 years
  • Capsule: 200 mg orally per day for children under the weight of 33 kg

Long-acting HIV management

Long-acting HIV management is available for people with an undetectable viral load

Treatment is administered as two injections every other month or months after you have taken about a month of once-daily starter pills After two consecutive months of injections, your every-other-month regimen will begin. It is critical to keep your appointments and follow your HIV treatment plan to keep your viral load undetectable.

Safety and storage

The oral solution must be stored in the refrigerator (do not freeze), or you can store the medication at room temperature. Unused oral solutions should be discarded every 3 months.


What is HIV? See Answer

How to take emtricitabine

Emtricitabine should be taken as prescribed and usually taken orally with or without food.  Emtricitabine is available in two forms:

  • 200 mg capsules
  • 10 mg/mL oral solution

Emtricitabine should always be taken with other HIV medications at the same time daily. You should continue taking the medicine even if you are feeling well. Do not change the dose or stop the medicine without informing your doctor. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember as long as it is within 12 hours of the missed dose. If it is after 12 hours, skip the dose and take the next one. To make up for a missed dose, do not combine doses.

What precautions should be taken before taking emtricitabine?

The following precautions must be taken before taking emtricitabine:

  • Inform your doctor if you are allergic to emtricitabine or any other medications. This medicine contains inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other problems.
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, etc. because emtricitabine interferes with the effectiveness of other medications. Emtricitabine, when taken with specific other drugs, may cause serious side effects.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any other medical conditions, especially pancreatitis, liver problems (such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and cirrhosis), alcohol use disorder, kidney problems, or bone conditions (bone loss, osteoporosis, or weak bones).
  • Avoid or limit your alcohol consumption. Because this medication makes you dizzy, do not drive or perform any other tasks that require full alertness.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or intend to get pregnant. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking emtricitabine during pregnancy. If you have HIV, taking emtricitabine reduces the risk of the infection being passed from the mother to the child.
  • Do not breastfeed if you are HIV-infected or taking emtricitabine.

What are the side effects of emtricitabine?

Potential side effects of emtricitabine include:

Serious side effects may include:

Although emtricitabine may cause a few side effects, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Inform your doctor, however, if your side effects are severe and persistent.

Medically Reviewed on 11/2/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Emtricitabine 200 Mg-Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate 300 Mg Tablet Tenofovir - Uses, Side Effects, and More. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-91480/emtricitabine-tenofovir-disoproxil-fumarate-oral/details

Emtricitabine (Rx). https://reference.medscape.com/drug/emtriva-emtricitabine-342612

Emtricitabine. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a604004.html