April 28, 2017
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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Lactic Acidosis/Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis

Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogs alone or in combination, including emtricitabine and other antiretrovirals. A majority of these cases have been in women.

Obesity and prolonged nucleoside exposure may be risk factors. Particular caution should be exercised when administering nucleoside analogs to any patient with known risk factors for liver diseases; however, cases have also been reported in patients with no known risk factors. Treatment with EMTRIVA should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity (which may include hepatomegaly and steatosis even in the absence of marked transaminase elevations).

Patients Coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV

It is recommended that all patients with HIV-1 be tested for the presence of chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) before initiating antiretroviral therapy. EMTRIVA is not approved for the treatment of chronic HBV infection and the safety and efficacy of EMTRIVA have not been established in patients coinfected with HBV and HIV-1. Severe acute exacerbations of Hepatitis B have been reported in patients after the discontinuation of EMTRIVA. In some patients infected with HBV and treated with EMTRIVA, the exacerbations of hepatitis B were associated with liver decompensation and liver failure. Hepatic function should be monitored closely with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months in patients who are coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV and discontinue EMTRIVA. If appropriate, initiation of anti-Hepatitis B therapy may be warranted.

Coadministration with Related Products

EMTRIVA is a component of ATRIPLA (a fixed-dose combination of efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), COMPLERA (a fixed-dose combination of emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), STRIBILD (a fixed-dose combination of elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), and TRUVADA (a fixed-dose combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). EMTRIVA should not be coadministered with ATRIPLA, COMPLERA, STRIBILD, or TRUVADA. Due to similarities between emtricitabine and lamivudine, EMTRIVA should not be coadministered with other drugs containing lamivudine, including Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine), Epivir or Epivir-HBV (lamivudine), Epzicom (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine), or Trizivir (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine).

New Onset or Worsening Renal Impairment

Emtricitabine is principally eliminated by the kidney. Reduction of the dosage of EMTRIVA is recommended for patients with impaired renal function [See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Fat Redistribution

Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.

Immune Reconstitution Syndrome

Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including EMTRIVA. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections [such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), or tuberculosis], which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.

Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution, however, the time to onset is more variable, and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.

Patient Counseling Information

See FDA-approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION).

Information for Patients

Patients should be advised that:

  • EMTRIVA is not a cure for HIV-1 infection and patients may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. Patients should remain under the care of a physician when using EMTRIVA.
  • Patients should avoid doing things that can spread HIV to others.
    • Do not share needles or other injection equipment.
    • Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades.
    • Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.
    • Do not breastfeed. EMTRIVA is secreted in breast milk. Mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk.
  • The long term effects of EMTRIVA are unknown.
  • EMTRIVA capsules and oral solution are for oral ingestion only.
  • It is important to take EMTRIVA with combination therapy on a regular dosing schedule to avoid missing doses.
  • Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported. Treatment with EMTRIVA should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical symptoms suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity (including nausea, vomiting, unusual or unexpected stomach discomfort, and weakness) [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Patients with HIV-1 should be tested for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) before initiating antiretroviral therapy.
  • Severe acute exacerbations of Hepatitis B have been reported in patients who are coinfected with HBV and HIV-1 and have discontinued EMTRIVA.
  • EMTRIVA should not be coadministered with ATRIPLA, COMPLERA, STRIBILD, or TRUVADA; or with other drugs containing lamivudine, including Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine), Epivir or Epivir-HBV (lamivudine), Epzicom (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine), or Trizivir (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine) [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Dose or dosing interval of EMTRIVA may need adjustment in patients with renal impairment [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

In long-term oral carcinogenicity studies of emtricitabine, no drug-related increases in tumor incidence were found in mice at doses up to 750 mg/kg/day (26 times the human systemic exposure at the therapeutic dose of 200 mg/day) or in rats at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day (31 times the human systemic exposure at the therapeutic dose).

Emtricitabine was not genotoxic in the reverse mutation bacterial test (Ames test), mouse lymphoma or mouse micronucleus assays.

Emtricitabine did not affect fertility in male rats at approximately 140-fold or in male and female mice at approximately 60-fold higher exposures (AUC) than in humans given the recommended 200 mg daily dose. Fertility was normal in the offspring of mice exposed daily from before birth (in utero) through sexual maturity at daily exposures (AUC) of approximately 60-fold higher than human exposures at the recommended 200 mg daily dose.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category B

The incidence of fetal variations and malformations was not increased in embryofetal toxicity studies performed with emtricitabine in mice at exposures (AUC) approximately 60-fold higher and in rabbits at approximately 120-fold higher than human exposures at the recommended daily dose. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled trials in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, EMTRIVA should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry: To monitor fetal outcomes of pregnant women exposed to EMTRIVA, an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has been established. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling 1–800–258–4263.

Nursing Mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1-infected mothers not breast-feed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1. Samples of breast milk obtained from five HIV-1 infected mothers show that emtricitabine is secreted in human milk. Breastfeeding infants whose mothers are being treated with emtricitabine may be at risk for developing viral resistance to emtricitabine. Other emtricitabine-associated risks in infants breastfed by mothers being treated with emtricitabine are unknown. Because of both the potential for HIV-1 transmission and the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, mothers should be instructed not to breast-feed if they are receiving EMTRIVA.

Pediatric Use

The safety and efficacy of emtricitabine in patients between 3 months and 21 years of age is supported by data from three open-label, non-randomized clinical trials in which emtricitabine was administered to 169 HIV-1 infected treatment-naive and experienced (defined as virologically suppressed on a lamivudine containing regimen for which emtricitabine was substituted for lamivudine) subjects [See Clinical Studies].

The pharmacokinetics of emtricitabine were studied in 20 neonates born to HIV-1- positive mothers [See Clinical Studies]. All neonates were HIV-1 negative at the end of the trial; the efficacy of emtricitabine in preventing or treating HIV-1 could not be determined.

Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of EMTRIVA did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 years and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for the elderly patient should be cautious, keeping in mind the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Patients with Impaired Renal Function

It is recommended that the dose or dosing interval for EMTRIVA be modified in patients with creatinine clearance less than 50 mL/min or in patients who require dialysis [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/24/2017


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