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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antiretroviral Agent Truvada® Adult

Emtricitabine/Tenofovir - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Emtricitabine/Tenofovir cause?

The most common side effects include:

  • Hyperpigmentation or skin dicolouration. If your skin is sensitive, avoid direct sunlight or apply sunblock lotion on exposed areas of the skin if when outdoors.
  • Headache, dizziness. Avoid driving or operating heavy ​machinery or any activity that requires alertness if affected.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Dose can be given with or after meals to minimize stomach upset. Small frequent meals may help. Older children may suck on hard, sugar-free candy.
  • Loose stools (Diarrhea)
  • Weight loss.
  • Tiredness, fatigue.
  • Abnormal dreams or not being able to sleep well.
  • Abnormal Fat Distribution. You may lose fat from legs, arm and face and gain fat around the abdomen and fatty lumps on the back of your neck.

Inform your doctor if any of the above the side effects become severe and bothersome.


Truvada may also cause serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. Report to you doctor immediately if you experience the following:

  • ​Feeling very weak, tired and drowsy
  • Unusual/unexplained muscle pain
  • Deep rapid breathing (or difficulty breathing) 
  • Stomach pain with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Having a fast and irregular heart beat
  • Signs of infection such as prolonged fever, cough, sore throat or generally feeling unwell
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes and dark-coloured urine
  • Loss of appetite​

These could be signs and symptoms of lactic acidosis or liver problems.

Stop the medication immediately and seek medical attention if you experience any severe allergic reactions like skin rash (with or without blisters, mouth ulcers, fever and itching), swelling of the eyes and lips or difficulty breathing

Before taking Emtricitabine/Tenofovir , what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Emtricitabine/Tenofovir ?

  • Updated on 10/14/2017 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy Department KK Women's and Children's Hospital
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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