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An Overview of Complera (Rilpivirine/Tenofovir/Emtricitabine)

January 28, 2013

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Brand Name: Complera
Other Names: FTC/RPV/TDF, emtricitabine/rilpivirine hydrochloride/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
Drug Class: Combination Drugs
Approved Use: Treatment of HIV Infection


Complera can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood) and liver problems.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal lactic acidosis:

  • Weakness or tiredness.
  • Unusual (not normal) muscle pain.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting.
  • Feeling cold, especially in your arms and legs.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.

Liver problems have occurred even in a few people who had no prior risk factors for liver problems. People taking Complera should be monitored for liver problems before starting treatment and during treatment. Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal liver problems:

  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
  • Dark-colored urine.
  • Light-colored bowel movements.
  • Loss of appetite for several days or longer.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain in the stomach area (abdominal pain).

Complera is not approved for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. People co-infected with HIV and HBV who stopped taking emtricitabine or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, which are two anti-HIV medicines included in Complera, have had severe worsening of their HBV infections.

While taking Complera, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.

What is Complera?


Complera is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults who have never taken HIV medicines before and who have a viral load (number of HIV RNA copies per mL of blood) of 100,000 copies/mL or less. Complera is a complete regimen for the treatment of HIV infection and should not be used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Complera contains the following three anti-HIV medicines combined in one pill: emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate are types of anti-HIV medicines called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Rilpivirine is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). The three drugs in combination help block HIV reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.

Complera does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if Complera reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking Complera?

Before taking Complera, tell your health care provider:

  • If you have liver problems, including HBV or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have ever had a mental health problem.
  • If you have bone problems.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether Complera can harm an unborn baby is unknown.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking Complera.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Complera may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Complera works. Taking Complera together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.
  • Do not take Complera if your HIV infection has been previously treated with HIV medicines.

How should I take Complera?

Complera comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:

  • 200 mg emtricitabine (brand name: Emtriva).
  • 25 mg rilpivirine (brand name: Edurant).
  • 300 mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (brand name: Viread).

Take Complera according to your health care provider’s instructions.

Take Complera with a meal (a protein drink does not replace a meal). Do not take Complera in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

If you take too much Complera, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

For more information on how to take Complera, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)

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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
See Also
More on Complera (Rilpivirine/Tenofovir/FTC)


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