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Emtricitabine

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Emtricitabine, when used alone or in combination with other medications, can cause serious damage to the liver and a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis. Tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, if you use or have ever used street drugs and if you have or have ever had liver disease. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or have taken the following medications: acetaminophen (Tylenol, others); amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone); cholesterol-lowering medications (statins); dantrolene (Dantrium); iron products; isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid); ketoconazole (Nizoral); medications to treat HIV or AIDS; methotrexate (Rheumatrex); methyldopa (Aldoril); niacin (nicotinic acid); piroxicam (Feldene); pyrazinamide (Rifater); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); salicylate pain relievers such as aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trisalate), choline salicylate(Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), magnesium salicylate (Doan's, others), and salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic); valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote); or products containing kava. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: upset stomach, stomach pain, vomiting, severe back pain, swelling of the stomach, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, weakness, dizziness, light-headedness, fast heart beat, sudden development of a slow or irregular heartbeat, deep or rapid breathing, shortness of breath, dark yellow or brown urine, unusual bleeding or bruising, yellowing of the skin or eyes, feeling cold, or flu-like symptoms. Ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are taking emtricitabine. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk that you will develop serious side effects of emtricitabine.Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain tests to check your body's response to emtricitabine. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking emtricitabine.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Emtricitabine is used with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in patients with or without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Emtricitabine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Emtricitabine works by slowing the spread of HIV in the body. Emtricitabine does not cure HIV infection and may not prevent you from developing HIV-related illnesses. Emtricitabine does not prevent you from spreading HIV to other people.

How should this medicine be used?

Emtricitabine comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. To help you remember to take emtricitabine, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take emtricitabine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Emtricitabine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take emtricitabine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking emtricitabine without talking to your doctor. If you miss doses or stop taking emtricitabine, your condition may become more difficult to treat.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking emtricitabine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to emtricitabine or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you more carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had the conditions mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section or kidney disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking emtricitabine, call your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You should not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking emtricitabine.
  • you should know that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body such as your breasts and upper back.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Emtricitabine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • itching
  • change in skin color on palms of hands or soles of feet
  • indigestion
  • muscle or joint pain
  • unusual dreams
  • depression
  • trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • runny nose

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • sore throat, cough, or other signs of infection
  • rash
  • numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the hands or feet

Emtricitabine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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