A Triple Threat for HIV

Apr 27, 2018

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new medication to treat HIV.

The new approval is for Biktarvy (bictegravir, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide). The FDA approved the triple-drug combination to treat HIV type 1 (HIV-1) in adults.

HIV is a virus that affects the immune system. It destroys white blood cells, putting those with HIV at risk for infections and certain types of cancer.

Biktarvy contains three medications that work together to reduce the amount of HIV-1 in the blood (viral load), according to the FDA. This medication is available as a tablet and is to be taken once a day.

The FDA approved Biktarvy for use in adults who have not received treatment before. It can also replace current therapy in adults who have taken other medications for at least three months and whose viral load is low enough.

Common side effects of Biktarvy included diarrhea, nausea and headache. More severe side effects included kidney and liver problems and lactic acidosis (too much lactic acid in the blood).

Biktarvy carries a boxed warning noting that it can worsen hepatitis B infections. Your health care provider will test for hepatitis B infection before you start Biktarvy.

If you or a loved one has HIV, discuss treatment options with your health care provider.

Gilead Sciences manufactures Biktarvy.

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