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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, including VIREAD, in combination with 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 disease; however, cases have also been reported in patients with no known risk factors. Treatment with VIREAD 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).

Exacerbation Of Hepatitis After Discontinuation Of Treatment

Discontinuation of anti-HBV therapy, including VIREAD, may be associated with severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis. Patients infected with HBV who discontinue VIREAD should be closely monitored with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months after stopping treatment. If appropriate, resumption of anti-hepatitis B therapy may be warranted.

New Onset Or Worsening Renal Impairment

Tenofovir is principally eliminated by the kidney. Renal impairment, including cases of acute renal failure and Fanconi syndrome (renal tubular injury with severe hypophosphatemia), has been reported with the use of VIREAD [See ADVERSE REACTIONS].

It is recommended that estimated creatinine clearance be assessed in all patients prior to initiating therapy and as clinically appropriate during therapy with VIREAD. In patients at risk of renal dysfunction, including patients who have previously experienced renal events while receiving HEPSERA® , it is recommended that estimated creatinine clearance, serum phosphorus, urine glucose, and urine protein be assessed prior to initiation of VIREAD, and periodically during VIREAD therapy.

Dosing interval adjustment of VIREAD and close monitoring of renal function are recommended in all patients with creatinine clearance below 50 mL/min [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. No safety or efficacy data are available in patients with renal impairment who received VIREAD using these dosing guidelines, so the potential benefit of VIREAD therapy should be assessed against the potential risk of renal toxicity.

VIREAD should be avoided with concurrent or recent use of a nephrotoxic agent (e.g., high-dose or multiple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)) [See DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Cases of acute renal failure after initiation of high dose or multiple NSAIDs have been reported in HIV-infected patients with risk factors for renal dysfunction who appeared stable on tenofovir DF. Some patients required hospitalization and renal replacement therapy. Alternatives to NSAIDs should be considered, if needed, in patients at risk for renal dysfunction.

Persistent or worsening bone pain, pain in extremities, fractures and/or muscular pain or weakness may be manifestations of proximal renal tubulopathy and should prompt an evaluation of renal function in at-risk patients.

Coadministration With Other Products

VIREAD should not be used in combination with the fixed-dose combination products ATRIPLA, COMPLERA, STRIBILD, or TRUVADA since tenofovir disoproxil fumarate is a component of these products.

VIREAD should not be administered in combination with HEPSERA (adefovir dipivoxil) [See DRUG INTERACTIONS].

Patients Coinfected With HIV-1 And HBV

Due to the risk of development of HIV-1 resistance, VIREAD should only be used in HIV-1 and HBV coinfected patients as part of an appropriate antiretroviral combination regimen.

HIV-1 antibody testing should be offered to all HBV-infected patients before initiating therapy with VIREAD. It is also recommended that all patients with HIV-1 be tested for the presence of chronic hepatitis B before initiating treatment with VIREAD.

Bone Effects

Bone Mineral Density

In clinical trials in HIV-1 infected adults, VIREAD was associated with slightly greater decreases in bone mineral density (BMD) and increases in biochemical markers of bone metabolism, suggesting increased bone turnover relative to comparators. Serum parathyroid hormone levels and 1,25 Vitamin D levels were also higher in subjects receiving VIREAD [See ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Clinical trials evaluating VIREAD in pediatric and adolescent subjects were conducted. Under normal circumstances, BMD increases rapidly in pediatric patients. In HIV-1 infected subjects aged 2 years to less than 18 years, bone effects were similar to those observed in adult subjects and suggest increased bone turnover. Total body BMD gain was less in the VIREAD-treated HIV-1 infected pediatric subjects as compared to the control groups. Similar trends were observed in chronic hepatitis B infected adolescent subjects aged 12 years to less than 18 years. In all pediatric trials, skeletal growth (height) appeared to be unaffected [See ADVERSE REACTIONS].

The effects of VIREAD-associated changes in BMD and biochemical markers on long-term bone health and future fracture risk are unknown. Assessment of BMD should be considered for adults and pediatric patients who have a history of pathologic bone fracture or other risk factors for osteoporosis or bone loss. Although the effect of supplementation with calcium and vitamin D was not studied, such supplementation may be beneficial for all patients. If bone abnormalities are suspected then appropriate consultation should be obtained.

Mineralization Defects

Cases of osteomalacia associated with proximal renal tubulopathy, manifested as bone pain or pain in extremities and which may contribute to fractures, have been reported in association with the use of VIREAD [See ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Arthralgias and muscle pain or weakness have also been reported in cases of proximal renal tubulopathy. Hypophosphatemia and osteomalacia secondary to proximal renal tubulopathy should be considered in patients at risk of renal dysfunction who present with persistent or worsening bone or muscle symptoms while receiving products containing tenofovir DF [See New Onset or Worsening Renal Impairment].

Fat Redistribution

In HIV-infected patients 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 combination 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 HIV-infected patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including VIREAD. 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.

Early Virologic Failure

Clinical trials in HIV-infected subjects have demonstrated that certain regimens that only contain three nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) are generally less effective than triple drug regimens containing two NRTIs in combination with either a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or a HIV-1 protease inhibitor. In particular, early virological failure and high rates of resistance substitutions have been reported. Triple nucleoside regimens should therefore be used with caution. Patients on a therapy utilizing a triple nucleoside-only regimen should be carefully monitored and considered for treatment modification.

Patient Counseling Information

Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Patient Information and Instructions for Use).

  • VIREAD 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 VIREAD.
  • Patients should avoid doing things that can spread HIV or HBV 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. Tenofovir is excreted in breast milk and it is not known whether it can harm the baby. 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 VIREAD are unknown.
  • VIREAD tablets and oral powder are for oral ingestion only.
  • VIREAD should not be discontinued without first informing their physician.
  • If you have HIV-1 infection, with or without HBV coinfection, it is important to take VIREAD with combination therapy.
  • It is important to take VIREAD on a regular dosing schedule and to avoid missing doses.
  • Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported. Treatment with VIREAD 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].
  • Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis have been reported in patients who are infected with HBV or coinfected with HBV and HIV-1 and have discontinued VIREAD [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Renal impairment, including cases of acute renal failure and Fanconi syndrome, has been reported. VIREAD should be avoided with concurrent or recent use of a nephrotoxic agent (e.g., high-dose or multiple NSAIDs) [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Dosing interval of VIREAD may need adjustment in patients with renal impairment [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
  • VIREAD should not be coadministered with the fixed-dose combination products ATRIPLA, COMPLERA, STRIBILD, and TRUVADA since it is a component of these products [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • VIREAD should not be administered in combination with HEPSERA [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Patients with HIV-1 should be tested for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) before initiating antiretroviral therapy [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • In patients with chronic hepatitis B, it is important to obtain HIV antibody testing prior to initiating VIREAD [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Decreases in bone mineral density have been observed with the use of VIREAD. Bone mineral density monitoring should be considered in patients who have a history of pathologic bone fracture or at risk for osteopenia [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • In the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, the optimal duration of treatment is unknown. The relationship between response and long-term prevention of outcomes such as hepatocellular carcinoma is not known.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility


Long-term oral carcinogenicity studies of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate in mice and rats were carried out at exposures up to approximately 16 times (mice) and 5 times (rats) those observed in humans at the therapeutic dose for HIV-1 infection. At the high dose in female mice, liver adenomas were increased at exposures 16 times that in humans. In rats, the study was negative for carcinogenic findings at exposures up to 5 times that observed in humans at the therapeutic dose.


Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate was mutagenic in the in vitro mouse lymphoma assay and negative in an in vitro bacterial mutagenicity test (Ames test). In an in vivo mouse micronucleus assay, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate was negative when administered to male mice.

Impairment Of Fertility

There were no effects on fertility, mating performance or early embryonic development when tenofovir disoproxil fumarate was administered to male rats at a dose equivalent to 10 times the human dose based on body surface area comparisons for 28 days prior to mating and to female rats for 15 days prior to mating through day seven of gestation. There was, however, an alteration of the estrous cycle in female rats.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category B

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, VIREAD should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

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

Risk Summary

Animal Data

Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and rabbits at doses up to 14 and 19 times the human dose based on body surface area comparisons and revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to tenofovir.

Nursing Mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1-infected mothers not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1. Samples of breast milk obtained from five HIV-1 infected mothers in the first post-partum week show that tenofovir is secreted in human milk. The impact of this exposure in breastfed infants is 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 breastfeed if they are receiving VIREAD.

Pediatric Use

Pediatric Patients 2 Years Of Age and Older With HIV-1 Infection

The safety of VIREAD in pediatric patients aged 2 to less than 18 years is supported by data from two randomized trials in which VIREAD was administered to HIV-1 infected treatment-experienced subjects. In addition, the pharmacokinetic profile of tenofovir in patients 2 to less than 18 years of age at the recommended doses was similar to that found to be safe and effective in adult clinical trials [See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

In Study 352, 92 treatment-experienced subjects 2 to less than 12 years of age with stable, virologic suppression on stavudine-or zidovudine-containing regimen were randomized to either replace stavudine or zidovudine with VIREAD (N=44) or continue their original regimen (N=48) for 48 weeks. Five additional subjects over the age of 12 were enrolled and randomized (VIREAD N=4, original regimen N=1) but are not included in the efficacy analysis. After 48 weeks, all eligible subjects were allowed to continue in the study receiving open-label VIREAD. At Week 48, 89% of subjects in the VIREAD treatment group and 90% of subjects in the stavudine or zidovudine treatment group had HIV-1 RNA concentrations less than 400 copies/mL. During the 48 week randomized phase of the study, 1 subject in the VIREAD group discontinued the study prematurely because of virologic failure/lack of efficacy and 3 subjects (2 subjects in the VIREAD group and 1 subject in the stavudine or zidovudine group) discontinued for other reasons.

In Study 321, 87 treatment-experienced subjects 12 to less than 18 years of age were treated with VIREAD (N=45) or placebo (N=42) in combination with an optimized background regimen (OBR) for 48 weeks. The mean baseline CD4 cell count was 374 cells/mm³ and the mean baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.6 log10 copies/mL. At baseline, 90% of subjects harbored NRTI resistance-associated substitutions in their HIV-1 isolates. Overall, the trial failed to show a difference in virologic response between the VIREAD and placebo treatment groups. Subgroup analyses suggest the lack of difference in virologic response may be attributable to imbalances between treatment arms in baseline viral susceptibility to VIREAD and OBR.

Although changes in HIV-1 RNA in these highly treatment-experienced subjects were less than anticipated, the comparability of the pharmacokinetic and safety data to that observed in adults supports the use of VIREAD in pediatric patients 12 years of age and older who weigh greater than or equal to 35 kg and whose HIV-1 isolate is expected to be sensitive to VIREAD. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Safety and effectiveness of VIREAD in pediatric patients younger than 2 years of age with HIV-1 infection have not been established.

Pediatric Patients 12 Years Of Age And Older With Chronic Hepatitis B

In Study 115, 106 HBeAg negative (9%) and positive (91%) subjects aged 12 to less than 18 years with chronic HBV infection were randomized to receive blinded treatment with VIREAD 300 mg (N=52) or placebo (N=54) for 72 weeks. At study entry, the mean HBV DNA was 8.1 log10 copies/mL and mean ALT was 101 U/L. Of 52 subjects treated with VIREAD, 20 subjects were nucleos(t)ide-na´ve and 32 subjects were nucleos(t)ideexperienced. Thirty-one of the 32 nucleos(t)ide-experienced subjects had prior lamivudine experience. At Week 72, 88% (46/52) of subjects in the VIREAD group and 0% (0/54) of subjects in the placebo group had HBV DNA < 400 copies/mL (69 IU/mL). Among subjects with abnormal ALT at baseline, 74% (26/35) of subjects receiving VIREAD had normalized ALT at Week 72 compared to 31% (13/42) in the placebo group. One VIREAD-treated subject experienced sustained HBsAg-loss and seroconversion to anti-HBs during the first 72 weeks of study participation.

Safety and effectiveness of VIREAD in pediatric patients younger than 12 years of age or less than 35 kg with chronic hepatitis B have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of VIREAD did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 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 dosing interval for VIREAD be modified in patients with estimated creatinine clearance below 50 mL/min or in patients with ESRD who require dialysis [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

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

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/7/2016


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