Truvada Side Effects Center

Last updated on RxList: 3/16/2022
Truvada Side Effects Center

What Is Truvada?

Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a combination of antiviral drugs used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Truvada is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

What Are Side Effects of Truvada?

Common side effects of Truvada include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • stomach pain,
  • diarrhea,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • depression,
  • joint pain,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • strange dreams,
  • back pain,
  • itching or skin rash,
  • changes in the color of skin on your palms or soles of your feet, or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Truvada including:

  • mental/mood changes (such as depression, anxiety),
  • loss of appetite,
  • stomach or abdominal pain,
  • pink or bloody urine, or
  • changes in the amount of urine.

Dosage for Truvada

The dose of Truvada for adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with body weight 35 kg (77 lb) or more is one tablet (200 mg of emtricitabine and 300 mg of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) once daily taken orally with or without food.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Truvada?

Truvada may interact with lithium, methotrexate, pain or arthritis medicines, medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection, IV antibiotics, antiviral medicines, cancer medicines, herpes medications, medications to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV), or other HIV medicines. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use.

Truvada During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

During pregnancy, Truvada should be used only when prescribed. It is normal to prescribe HIV medicines such as Truvada for pregnant women with HIV. This can decrease the risk of passing HIV to the baby. Truvada may be part of that treatment. Consult your doctor. It is unknown if Truvada passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breastfeed.

Additional Information

Our Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information as well as related drugs, user reviews, supplements, and diseases and conditions articles.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What is HIV? See Answer
Truvada Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Mild symptoms of lactic acidosis may worsen over time, and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have: unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, irregular heart rate, dizziness, feeling cold, or feeling very weak or tired.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • symptoms of new HIV infection--fever, night sweats, tiredness, muscle or joint pain, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swollen glands in your neck or groin;
  • sudden or unusual bone pain;
  • kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
  • liver problems--nausea, swelling around your midsection, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Emtricitabine and tenofovir affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine). Tell your doctor if you have:

  • signs of a new infection--fever, sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss;
  • trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or
  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.

Common side effects may include:

  • headache, dizziness, feeling depressed or tired;
  • trouble sleeping, strange dreams;
  • nausea, stomach pain;
  • weight loss; or
  • rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


A Timeline of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic See Slideshow
Truvada Professional Information


The following adverse reactions are discussed in other sections of the labeling:

  • Severe Acute Exacerbations of Hepatitis B in Patients with HBV Infection [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • New Onset or Worsening Renal Impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Immune Reconstitution Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Bone Loss and Mineralization Defects [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Lactic Acidosis/Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Adverse Reactions From Clinical Trials Experience In HIV-1 Infected Subjects

Clinical Trials in Adult Subjects

In Study 934, 511 antiretroviral-naïve subjects received efavirenz (EFV) administered in combination with either FTC+TDF (N=257) or zidovudine (AZT)/lamivudine (3TC) (N=254) for 144 weeks. The most common adverse reactions (incidence greater than or equal to 10%, all grades) included diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, headache, dizziness, depression, insomnia, abnormal dreams, and rash. Table 3 provides the treatment-emergent adverse reactions (Grades 2–4) occurring in greater than or equal to 5% of subjects treated in any treatment group.

Skin discoloration, manifested by hyperpigmentation, occurred in 3% of subjects taking FTC+TDF, and was generally mild and asymptomatic. The mechanism and clinical significance are unknown.

Table 3 Selected Adverse Reactionsa (Grades 2–4) Reported in ≥5% in Any Treatment Group in Study 934 (0–144 Weeks)

Upper respiratory tract infections8%5%
Rash eventc7%9%
a. Frequencies of adverse reactions are based on all treatment-emergent adverse events, regardless of relationship to study drug.
b. From Weeks 96 to 144 of the trial, subjects received TRUVADA with efavirenz in place of FTC+TDF with efavirenz.
c. Rash event includes rash, exfoliative rash, rash generalized, rash macular, rash maculo-papular, rash pruritic, and rash vesicular.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Laboratory abnormalities observed in this trial were generally consistent with those seen in other trials of TDF and/or FTC (Table 4).

Table 4 Significant Laboratory Abnormalities Reported in ≥1% of Subjects in Any Treatment Group in Study 934 (0–144 Weeks)

Any ≥ Grade 3 Laboratory Abnormality30%26%
Fasting Cholesterol (>240 mg/dL)22%24%
Creatine Kinase
(M: >990 U/L)
(F: >845 U/L)
Serum Amylase (>175 U/L)8%4%
Alkaline Phosphatase (>550 U/L)1%0%
(M: >180 U/L)
(F: >170 U/L)
(M: >215 U/L)
(F: >170 U/L)
Hemoglobin (<8.0 mg/dL)0%4%
Hyperglycemia (>250 mg/dL)2%1%
Hematuria (>75 RBC/HPF)3%2%
Glycosuria (≥3+)<1%1%
Neutrophils (<750/mm3)3%5%
Fasting Triglycerides (>750 mg/dL)4%2%
a. From Weeks 96 to 144 of the trial, subjects received TRUVADA with efavirenz in place of FTC+TDF with efavirenz.

Clinical Trials in Pediatric Subjects


In addition to the adverse reactions reported in adults, anemia and hyperpigmentation were observed in 7% and 32%, respectively, of pediatric subjects (3 months to less than 18 years of age) who received treatment with FTC in the larger of two open-label, uncontrolled pediatric trials (N=116).

Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate

In pediatric clinical trials (Studies 352 and 321) conducted in 184 HIV1 infected subjects 2 to less than 18 years of age, the adverse reactions observed in pediatric subjects who received treatment with TDF were consistent with those observed in clinical trials of TDF in adults.

In Study 352 (2 to less than 12 years of age), 89 pediatric subjects received TDF for a median exposure of 104 weeks. Of these, 4 subjects discontinued from the trial due to adverse reactions consistent with proximal renal tubulopathy. Three of these 4 subjects presented with hypophosphatemia and had decreases in total body or spine BMD Z-score [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Total body BMD gain at Week 48 was less in the TDF group compared to the stavudine (d4T) or zidovudine (AZT) treatment groups. The mean rate of BMD gain in lumbar spine was similar between treatment groups. One TDF-treated subject and none of the d4T-or AZT-treated subjects experienced significant (greater than 4%) lumbar spine BMD loss at Week 48. Changes from baseline in BMD Z-scores were −0.012 for lumbar spine and −0.338 for total body in the 64 subjects who were treated with TDF for 96 weeks.

In Study 321 (12 to less than 18 years of age), the mean rate of BMD gain at Week 48 was less in the TDF compared to the placebo treatment group. Six TDF-treated subjects and one placebo-treated subject had significant (greater than 4%) lumbar spine BMD loss at Week 48. Changes from baseline BMD Z-scores were −0.341 for lumbar spine and −0.458 for total body in the 28 subjects who were treated with TDF for 96 weeks.

In both trials, skeletal growth (height) appeared to be unaffected.

Adverse Reactions From Clinical Trial Experience In Uninfected Subjects Taking TRUVADA For HIV-1 PrEP

Clinical Trials in Adult Subjects

The safety profile of TRUVADA for HIV-1 PrEP was comparable to that observed in clinical trials of HIV-infected subjects based on two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials (iPrEx, Partners PrEP) in which 2,830 HIV-1 uninfected adults received TRUVADA once daily for HIV-1 PrEP. Subjects were followed for a median of 71 weeks and 87 weeks, respectively. Table 5 provides a list of selected adverse events that occurred in 2% or more of subjects in any treatment group in the iPrEx trial, with an incidence greater than placebo.

Table 5 Selected Adverse Events (All Grades) Reported in ≥2% in Any Treatment Group in the iPrEx Trial and Greater than Placebo

Abdominal pain4%2%
Weight decreased3%2%

In the Partners PrEP trial, the frequency of adverse events in the TRUVADA treatment group was generally either less than or the same as in the placebo group.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Table 6 provides a list of Grade 2-4 laboratory abnormalities observed in the iPrEx and Partners PrEP trials. Six subjects in the TDF-containing arms of the Partners PrEP trial discontinued from the trial due to an increase in serum creatinine compared with no discontinuations in the placebo group. One subject in the TRUVADA arm of the iPrEx trial discontinued from the trial due to an increase in serum creatinine and another subject discontinued due to low serum phosphorus. Grades 2−3 proteinuria (2-4+) and/or glycosuria (3+) occurred in less than 1% of subjects treated with TRUVADA in the iPrEx trial and Partners PrEP trial.

Table 6 Laboratory Abnormalities (Highest Toxicity Grade Reported for Each Subject) in the iPrEx Trial and Partners PrEP Trial

Grade 2-4aiPrEx TrialPartners PrEP Trial
Creatinine (>1.4 × ULN)<1%<1%<1%<1%
Phosphorus (<2.0 mg/dL)10%8%9%9%
AST (>2.6 × ULN)5%5%<1%<1%
ALT (>2.6 × ULN)7%7%<1%<1%
Hemoglobin (<9.4 mg/dL)1%2%2%2%
Neutrophils (<750/mm3)<1%<1%5%3%
a. Grading is per DAIDS criteria.

Changes in Bone Mineral Density

In clinical trials of HIV-1 uninfected individuals, decreases in BMD were observed. In the iPrEx trial, a substudy of 503 subjects found mean changes from baseline in BMD ranging from –0.4% to –1.0% across total hip, spine, femoral neck, and trochanter in the TRUVADA group compared with the placebo group, which returned toward baseline after discontinuation of treatment. Thirteen percent of TRUVADA-treated subjects versus 6% of placebo-treated subjects lost at least 5% of BMD at the spine during treatment. Bone fractures were reported in 1.7% of the TRUVADA group compared with 1.4% in the placebo group. No correlation between BMD and fractures was noted [see Clinical Studies]. The Partners PrEP trial found similar fracture rates between the treatment and placebo groups (0.8% and 0.6%, respectively); no BMD evaluations were performed in this trial [see Clinical Studies].

Clinical Trials in Adolescent Subjects

In a single-arm, open-label clinical trial (ATN113), in which 67 HIV-1 uninfected adolescent (15 to 18 years of age) men who have sex with men received TRUVADA once daily for HIV-1 PrEP, the safety profile of TRUVADA was similar to that observed in adults. Median duration to exposure of TRUVADA was 47 weeks [see Use In Specific Populations].

In the ATN113 trial, median BMD increased from baseline to Week 48, +2.58% for lumbar spine and +0.72% for total body. One subject had significant (greater than or equal to 4%) total body BMD loss at Week 24. Median changes from baseline BMD Z-scores were 0.0 for lumbar spine and −0.2 for total body at Week 48. Three subjects showed a worsening (change from > −2 to ≤ −2) from baseline in their lumbar spine or total body BMD Z-scores at Week 24 or 48. Interpretation of these data, however, may be limited by the low rate of adherence to TRUVADA by Week 48.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of TDF. No additional adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of FTC. Because postmarketing reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Immune System Disorders allergic reaction, including angioedema

Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders lactic acidosis, hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia

Respiratory, Thoracic, and Mediastinal Disorders dyspnea

Gastrointestinal Disorders pancreatitis, increased amylase, abdominal pain

Hepatobiliary Disorders hepatic steatosis, hepatitis, increased liver enzymes (most commonly AST, ALT gamma GT)

Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders rash

Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders rhabdomyolysis, osteomalacia (manifested as bone pain and which may contribute to fractures), muscular weakness, myopathy

Renal and Urinary Disorders acute renal failure, renal failure, acute tubular necrosis, Fanconi syndrome, proximal renal tubulopathy, interstitial nephritis (including acute cases), nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, renal insufficiency, increased creatinine, proteinuria, polyuria

General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions asthenia

The following adverse reactions, listed under the body system headings above, may occur as a consequence of proximal renal tubulopathy: rhabdomyolysis, osteomalacia, hypokalemia, muscular weakness, myopathy, hypophosphatemia.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Truvada (Emtricitabine Tenofovir DF)

© Truvada Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Truvada Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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