Generic Name: Emtricitabine Brand Name(s): Emtricitabine.


What is Emtricitabine used for?

Emtricitabine is commonly used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Emtricitabine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTI.

Emtricitabine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

How should I take Emtricitabine?

Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

Dosage is based on your medical condition, dosage form (capsule or liquid), and response to treatment. In children, the dosage may also be based on weight. Do not switch between the capsule and liquid forms.

This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at the same time each day.

It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Refill your medication before you run out.

Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.

How do I store Emtricitabine?

Emtricitabine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Emtricitabine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Emtricitabine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Emtricitabine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Emtricitabine?

Before taking emtricitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, liver problems (such as hepatitis, cirrhosis), alcohol use.

Before having surgery, tell your doctors or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, caution is advised when using this drug in older adults because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Emtricitabine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this Emtricitabine. This Emtricitabine is pregnancy risk category B according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Emtricitabine?

Headache, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, or darkening skin color on palms of hands and soles of feet may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn’t go away, headaches that are severe or don’t go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (such as depression).

Rarely, this medication can cause severe (sometimes fatal) liver and blood problems (lactic acidosis). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn’t stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine) or lactic acidosis (such as deep/rapid breathing, drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, unusual weakness). These serious side effects may be more likely if you are female or very overweight (obese).

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Emtricitabine?

A product that may interact with this drug is: orlistat.

Lamivudine is similar to emtricitabine and should not be taken with this medication. Check the labels on all your HIV medicines because they may contain the same ingredients as found in this product. Do not take other products that contain emtricitabine.

Emtricitabine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Emtricitabine?

Emtricitabine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Emtricitabine?

Emtricitabine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Emtricitabine.

What is the dose of Emtricitabine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for HIV Infection

Capsules: 200 mg orally once a day

Oral solution: 240 mg (24 mL) orally once a day

Approved indication: In combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection

Usual Adult Dose for Occupational Exposure

(Not approved by FDA)

US Public Health Service working group recommendations:

Capsules: 200 mg orally once a day

Duration of therapy: 28 days, if tolerated


-Emtricitabine plus tenofovir plus raltegravir is recommended as the preferred regimen for HIV postexposure prophylaxis; emtricitabine is also recommended as a component in various alternative regimens.

-Prophylaxis should be started as soon as possible, preferably within hours after exposure.

-The optimal duration of prophylaxis is unknown and may differ based on the institution’s protocol.

-The most current therapeutic guidelines should be consulted for more information.

Usual Adult Dose for Nonoccupational Exposure

(Not approved by FDA)

CDC recommendations:

Capsules: 200 mg orally once a day

Duration of therapy: 28 days


-Emtricitabine should be used in combination with efavirenz plus (tenofovir or zidovudine), or with lopinavir-ritonavir plus zidovudine.

-Prophylaxis should be started as soon as possible, within 72 hours of exposure.

Renal Dose Adjustments



CrCl 30 to 49 mL/min: 200 mg orally every 48 hours

CrCl 15 to 29 mL/min: 200 mg orally every 72 hours

CrCl less than 15 mL/min: 200 mg orally every 96 hours

Oral solution:

CrCl 30 to 49 mL/min: 120 mg orally every 24 hours

CrCl 15 to 29 mL/min: 80 mg orally every 24 hours

CrCl less than 15 mL/min: 60 mg orally every 24 hour


-Safety and efficacy of these dosing guidelines have not been clinically evaluated.

-Clinical response to therapy and renal function should be closely monitored in these patients.

Liver Dose Adjustments

No adjustment recommended.



Capsules: 200 mg orally every 96 hours

Oral Solution: 60 mg orally every 24 hours


-Doses should be given after dialysis sessions when used on dialysis days.

Other Comments

Administration advice:

-May be taken without regard to food

Storage requirements:

-Oral solution: Should store refrigerated (2C to 8C [36F to 46F]); should not freeze

-Oral solution: May store at room temperature (25C [77F]; excursions permitted to 15C to 30C [59F to 86F]) for up to 3 months; should discard any remaining solution after the 3 months


-Use of emtricitabine in therapy-experienced patients should be guided by laboratory testing and treatment history.


-Hepatic: For chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) in all patients (before therapy); hepatic function with clinical and laboratory follow-up in patients coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV (for at least several months after stopping therapy)

-Renal: Renal function with CrCl less than 50 mL/min

What is the dose of Emtricitabine for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for HIV Infection

Oral solution:

0 to 3 months: 3 mg/kg orally once a day

3 months through 17 years: 6 mg/kg orally once a day

Maximum dose: 240 mg (24 mL)


3 months through 17 years, weighing more than 33 kg, and able to swallow intact capsule: 200 mg orally once a day

Approved indication: In combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection

Renal Dose Adjustments

Pediatric patients: Insufficient data to recommend dose adjustments; however, dose reductions or increased intervals should be considered.

How is Emtricitabine available?

Emtricitabine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral Solution
  • Oral Capsule

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Emtricitabine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: January 24, 2018 | Last Modified: January 24, 2018

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