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HIV MedicationsAtripla

Atripla for HIV Treatment: Everything You Need to Know

illustration of larger-than-life Atripla bottle alongside a person holding a massive Atripla pill
Lily Fulop

    Frequently Asked QuestionsAtripla

    What is Atripla used for?

    Atripla is a complete single-tablet regimen (STR) used for the treatment of HIV. It was the very first STR approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2006.

    What are the medications in Atripla?

    Atripla is a tablet containing three medications: efavirenz (EFV, Sustiva), emtricitabine (FTC, Emtriva), and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF, Viread).

    • Both TDF and FTC are in the class of drugs called NRTIs (short for nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors), which stop HIV by blocking a protein that helps it make copies of itself.

    • EFV is in the class of drugs called NNRTIs (short for non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors), working similarly as the NRTIs on the same protein, but in a slightly different way.

    How often is Atripla taken?

    Atripla is normally taken by mouth once a day, ideally on an empty stomach. The recommendation is to take it either an hour before a meal or two hours after a meal.

    Does Atripla have any side effects I should worry about?

    Atripla has been noted to cause side effects, particularly along the neuropsychiatric spectrum. Vivid dreams, dizziness, sleep disturbances, depression, impaired concentration, and other mood effects have been described in research findings and among patients. And because some of the side effects are strongest within a few hours of taking the dose, it is generally recommended that Atripla be taken at bedtime.

    Can Atripla be used for any other conditions besides HIV treatment?

    Atripla, because it contains the two medications that make up Truvada (TDF and FTC), can be a good fit for people living with HIV who also have hepatitis B. Check with your physician to make sure you have been vaccinated or tested for hepatitis B before you start taking Atripla.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H., is a black same-gender-loving educator, author, activist, and internal medicine physician. He co-hosts the YouTube series 'Revolutionary Health' as part of The Counter Narrative Project and also appears on the #AskTheHIVDoc video series.