An Overview of Intelence (Etravirine)

Brand Name: Intelence
Other Name(s): ETR
Drug Class: Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors



Etravirine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include severe skin rash and allergic reactions.

Contact your health care provider right away if you get a rash. Stop taking etravirine and contact your health care provider or get medical help right away if you have a rash along with any of the following symptoms:

  • Hives or sores in your mouth
  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling of your face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Generally not feeling well
  • Feeling very tired
  • Aching muscles or joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain (pain on the right side of your stomach area)

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

What Is Etravirine?

Etravirine 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.

Etravirine belongs to a class (group) of HIV drugs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). NNRTIs attach to and block an HIV enzyme, a type of protein, called reverse transcriptase. By blocking reverse transcriptase, NNRTIs prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.

Etravirine is always used in combination with other HIV medicines. Etravirine is used in people who are already taking or have taken an NNRTI plus other HIV medicines and in whom these medicines are not controlling their HIV infection.

HIV medicines can't cure HIV/AIDS, but taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV treatment regimen) every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

What Should I Tell My Health Care Provider Before Taking Etravirine?

Before taking etravirine, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to etravirine or any other medicines.
  • If you have had or currently have liver problems, including hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection (HCV).
  • If you have any other medical conditions.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether etravirine can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Etravirine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking etravirine when pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV or are taking etravirine.
  • If you are using hormone-based birth control (such as pills, implants, or vaginal rings). For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the AIDSinfo HIV and Birth Control infographic.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products, including St. John's wort, you are taking or plan to take. Etravirine may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how etravirine works. Taking etravirine together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.

How Should I Take Etravirine?

Etravirine (brand name: Intelence) comes in tablet form in three different strengths:

  • 25-mg tablets.
  • 100-mg tablets.
  • 200-mg tablets.

Take etravirine according to your health care provider's instructions.

Always take etravirine after a meal. Do not take etravirine on an empty stomach. Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water. Do not chew the tablets.

If you are unable to swallow the etravirine tablets whole, place the tablets in a glass containing a teaspoon of water. (If needed, add more water to cover the tablets.) Do not put the tablets in other liquids. Stir well until the water looks milky. At this step, you may add a small amount of water, orange juice, or milk to make the mixture easier to drink. Then drink the mixture right away. Rinse the glass with water, orange juice, or milk several times, and completely swallow the rinse each time to make sure you take the entire dose of etravirine. Avoid using grapefruit juice or warm (more than 104°F/40°C) or carbonated beverages when taking etravirine tablets.

Always take etravirine in combination with other HIV medicines.

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

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

What Should I Do If I Forget a Dose?

If you miss a dose of etravirine within 6 hours of the time you usually take it, take your dose after a meal as soon as possible. Then take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. If you miss a dose by more than 6 hours of the time you usually take it, wait and then take the next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take more than your prescribed dose to make up for a missed dose.

What Side Effects Can Etravirine Cause?

Etravirine may cause side effects. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the AIDSinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.

Some side effects of etravirine can be serious. Serious side effects of etravirine include severe skin rash and allergic reactions.(See the WARNING above.)

Other possible side effects of etravirine include:

  • Changes in body fat (including gain or loss of fat).
  • Changes in your immune system (called immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome or IRIS). IRIS is a condition that sometimes occurs when the immune system begins to recover after treatment with an HIV medicine. As the immune system gets stronger, it may have an increased response to a previously hidden infection.
  • Tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy) (in adults).
  • Diarrhea (in children).

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of etravirine. To learn more about possible side effects of etravirine, read the drug label or package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

You can also report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.

How Should Etravirine Be Stored?

  • Store etravirine at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
  • Keep etravirine in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed. If the container has a small packet of drying agent (called a desiccant), do not remove it. The desiccant protects the medicine from moisture. Do not eat the desiccant packets.
  • Do not use etravirine if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away etravirine that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep etravirine and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where Can I Find More Information About Etravirine?

More information about etravirine is available:

Manufacturer Information

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet.

[Note from This article was created by AIDSinfo, who last updated it on July 19, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]