tenofovir + emtricitabine

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Truvada is a fixed-dose combination tablet combining 200mg emtricitabine (FTC) and 300mg tenofovir. Both drugs are NRTIs but emtricitabine is a nucleoside and tenofovir is a nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor.

A nucleoside is a component of DNA and RNA consisting of a purine or pyrimidine base linked to a sugar. A nucleoside linked to a phosphate group in DNA or RNA is known as a nucleotide.

Truvada is currently the preferred NRTI back-bone in combinations for first-line therapy. It is also used by many treatment-experienced people.

Basic info

Generic name tenofovir + emtricitabine
Brand name Truvada
Also known as
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 300/200mg tablet

Taking it

Like most anti-HIV drugs, tenofovir + emtricitabine must be taken in combination with other drugs to be completely effective. Commonly, tenofovir + 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 200/300mg tablet once a day. Some individuals, such as those with decreased kidney function, may require a different dose of Truvada.

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

tenofovir + 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, vomiting, headache, rash, dizziness, loss of appetite.
  • Less common side effects may include fatigue, lactic acidosis.
  • Rare side effects may include kidney damage, fatty liver, reduce bone mineral density.
  • 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

Because Truvada contains tenofovir there may be interactions with ddI and with drugs that cause kidney toxicity. Truvada should not be taken with lamivudine (3TC). It may also affect the levels of some ritonavir, lopinavir and atazanavir. The drug also contains emtricitabine, which is not recommended in combination with ddC or 3TC. There are no data on interactions between emtricitabine and methadone. Tenofovir does not affect blood levels of methadone.