HIV MedicationsBiktarvy

Biktarvy for HIV Treatment: Everything You Need to Know

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

    Frequently Asked QuestionsBiktarvy

    What is Biktarvy used for?

    Biktarvy is a complete single-tablet regimen (STR) used for the treatment of HIV. It was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018.

    How often is Biktarvy taken?

    Biktarvy is normally taken by mouth once a day, with no food or timing restrictions (i.e., it can be taken any time of day). The most important thing is to try to take it at the same time every day.

    What are the drugs in Biktarvy?

    It’s a pill containing three medications: bictegravir (BIC) with tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) and emtricitabine (FTC).

    • BIC is in the class of drugs called “integrase strand transfer inhibitors” (INSTI), which stop HIV from making copies of itself.
    • TAF and FTC are both in the class of drugs called “nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors” (NRTI), which also block HIV from making copies of itself, but earlier in its life cycle.

    Does Biktarvy have any side effects I should worry about?

    Biktarvy rarely causes side effects. However, concerns for weight gain and higher cholesterol levels have been noted in some recent studies. You should tell your medical provider if you develop any side effects.

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

    Biktarvy, because it contains the two medications that make up Descovy (TAF 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 stop or start taking Biktarvy.

    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.