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Emtriva versus Epivir

Jun 21, 2006

Is there any real difference between the two other then the manufacturer that makes them?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

Sure, there are subtle differences between FTC (Emtriva) and 3TC (Epivir). Both drugs are quite similar in chemical structure and side effect profile. Indeed, they really only differ by an atom. Both drugs are generally very well tolerated.

FTC has a longer half-life and has been suggested to cause somewhat lower rates of drug resistance. FTC has a characteristic side effect, hyperpigmentation of the skin (mostly on the palms).

3TC has been around for many, many years and has been the partner to nearly all successful first-line treatment regimens. There are little in the way of side effects (to the point that many will suggest that it's the best tolerated of all the HIV medications).

Of course, because of the commercial aspects of drug manufacturing, FTC will be partnered with other Gilead products (like Truvada), 3TC will be partnered with other GSK drugs (such as Combivir and Epzicom).

I hope this helps. BY

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