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An Overview of Viread (Tenofovir)

August 23, 2013

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te-NOE-fo-veer dye soe PROX il


Brand Name: Viread
Other Names: TDF, tenofovir DF
Drug Class: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Approved Use: Treatment of HIV Infection; Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection


Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir DF) can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in your blood) and severe liver problems.

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

  • Feeling very weak or tired.
  • Unusual muscle pain.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Stomach pain with either nausea or vomiting.
  • Feeling cold, especially in your arms and legs.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal severe 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.
  • Stomach pain.

If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take tenofovir DF and then stop using it, you may have worsening of your HBV infection. Tell your health care provider about any new or unusual symptoms after you stop taking tenofovir DF.

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

What is tenofovir disoproxil fumarate?

Tenofovir DF is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 2 years of age and older. Tenofovir DF is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.


Tenofovir DF is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). NRTIs work by blocking HIV reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.

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

Tenofovir DF is also an HBV reverse transcriptase inhibitor, approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic HBV in adults and children 12 years of age and older. HBV is an HIV-related opportunistic infection. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems -- such as those infected with HIV -- than in people with healthy immune systems.

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the use of tenofovir DF to treat HBV infection in people who are also receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking tenofovir disoproxil fumarate?

Before taking tenofovir DF, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to tenofovir DF or any other medicines.
  • If you have liver problems, including HBV infection.
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have bone problems.
  • If you have any other medical conditions.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether tenofovir DF 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 tenofovir DF.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Tenofovir DF may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how tenofovir DF works. Taking tenofovir DF together with certain medicines or products may cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.
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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 HIV Medications
More on Viread (Tenofovir)