Drugs Q & A

How Long does Atroiza Side Effects Last?

Atroiza is a South African antiretroviral combination medication containing three drugs: tenofovir, emtricitabine and efavirenz. This medication is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children weighing more than 40 kg (88 lb). Efavirenz is in a class of medications called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Emtricitabine and tenofovir are in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).

Tenofovir, emtricitabine and efavirenz combination was approved for medical use in the United States in 2006, and in the European Union in 2007. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

How should Atroiza be used?

Atroiza comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with water on an empty stomach (at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal). Take Atroiza at around the same time every day. Taking Atroiza at bedtime may make certain side effects less bothersome. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.

Take Atroiza exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Continue to take Atroiza even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Atroiza without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking Atroiza even for a short time, or skip doses, the virus may become resistant to medications and may be harder to treat.

How does Atroiza work?

Atroiza works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the body. Although efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir will not cure HIV, these medications may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of getting or transmitting the HIV virus to other people. Most people living with HIV who start taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed achieve an undetectable viral load within one to six months after beginning treatment.

What side effects can this medication cause?

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

•          headache

•          diarrhea

•          gas

•          indigestion

•          darkening of skin color, especially on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet

•          pale skin

•          difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

•          confusion

•          forgetfulness

•          feeling agitated, worried, or nervous

•          abnormally happy mood

•          unusual dreams

•          joint or back pain

•          itching

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

•          decreased urination

•          urinating large amounts

•          increased thirst

•          ongoing or worsening bone pain

•          bone fractures

•          pain in the in the arms, hands, feet, or legs

•          muscle pain or weakness

•          rash

•          peeling, blistering, or shedding skin

•          numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs

•          swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, legs, ankles, or feet

•          difficulty swallowing or breathing

•          hoarseness

•          seizures

•          flu-like symptoms

•          nausea

•          vomiting

•          extreme tiredness

•          yellowing of skin or eyes; light-colored bowel movements; dark yellow or brown urine; loss of appetite; pain in upper right part of stomach; or unusual bleeding or bruising

•          weakness; muscle pain; shortness of breath or fast breathing; stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; cold or blue hands and feet; feeling dizzy or lightheaded; or fast or irregular heartbeat

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

How long does Atroiza Side Effects Last?

Side effects from HIV medicines including Atroiza may last only a few days or weeks. For example, nausea, fatigue, and trouble sleeping are some short-term side effects of HIV medicines. Other side effects from some HIV medicines can lead to problems that may not appear for months or years after starting a medicine.

What happens if I stop taking Atroiza?

When Atroiza therapy is stopped, viral load rebounds, and the risk of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner in the absence of other prevention methods returns. Research has shown that people receiving intermittent antiretroviral treatment had twice the rate of disease progression compared to those receiving continuous treatment. Early antiretroviral treatment lowers the risk of serious AIDS-related events by 72%. Early treatment also lessen the risk of serious non-AIDS events by 39%.

Taking antiretroviral treatment daily as directed to achieve and maintain durably undetectable status stops HIV infection from progressing, helping people living with HIV stay healthy and live longer, while offering the benefit of preventing sexual transmission. Stopping and re-starting treatment can cause drug resistance to develop, making that treatment regimen ineffective and limiting future treatment options. You can also find useful information on: Does Atroiza Cause Weight Gain?

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