Emtricitabine is suitable for both treatment-naive and treatment-experienced people when combined with another NRTI - preferably tenofovir — plus either a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor or an NNRTI. 

It is also effective against hepatitis B, but should be used with caution in people with kidney disease.

Basic info

Generic name emtricitabine
Brand name Emtriva
Also known as Coviracil
Drug class Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Pediatric dosing? Available in doses suitable for children and/or young people.
Availability in Australia Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) through S100 prescribers since
This drug may be available through clinical trials in Australia.
You may be able to import this drug from overseas for your personal use.
Formulation 200mg capsule

Taking it

Like most anti-HIV drugs, emtricitabine must be taken in combination with other drugs to be completely effective. Commonly, emtricitabine is combined with one other nucleoside (NRTI) drug and either a protease inhibitor or non-nucleoside, although other combinations are sometimes used. Your doctor will advise you on the right combination of drugs to suit your circumstances.


The normal adult dose is one 200mg once a day.

Regardless of what you read on this website or elsewhere, you should always take your medications according to your doctor's instructions. If you're unsure, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

With or without food

emtricitabine may be taken with or without food

Side effect

All drugs can produce side effects in some people. These may be mild, moderate or severe, so you should be aware of potential side effects before starting any drug, and speak to your doctor if you experience side effects that concern you.

  • Common side effects may include nausea (upset stomach, feeling sick to the stomach), diarrhoea, headache, rash.
  • Less common side effects may include skin discolouration.
  • Rare side effects may include abnormal kidney function.
  • It's unlikely you will experience all of these side effects, and you may not experience any side effects at all. Before starting any new drug, ask your doctor about side effects you might experience and discuss strategies for dealing with side effects if they do occur. If you experience any significant side effect you should continue taking your medicine and see your doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions with other drugs

There have been few studies on the interaction of emtricitabine (FTC) with other drugs however it has a low potential for interaction. It is not recommended to take FTC with 3TC because they work in similar ways.