What are the side effects of Truvada, a drug used to treat patients with HIV/AIDS? According to truvada.com, the drug has serious side effects which you should watch out for. These are:
1. Lactic acidosis or buildup of an acid in the blood the symptoms of which are as follows:
- You feel very weak or tired.
- You have unusual (not normal) muscle pain.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have stomach pain with nausea and vomiting.
- You feel cold, especially in your arms and legs.
- You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
- You have a fast or irregular heartbeat.
If you get any of the above-mentioned symptoms, call your doctor right away.
2. Serious liver problems (hepatotoxicity), with liver enlargement and fat in the liver. The symptoms which you should look out for if you have suspicions that you have a liver problem are:
- Your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice).
- Your urine turns dark.
- Your bowel movements (stools) turn light in color.
- You don’t feel like eating food for several days or longer.
- You feel sick to your stomach (nausea).
- You have lower stomach area (abdominal) pain.
As in #1, you should consult your physician once you exhibit these symptoms.
3. “Flare-ups” of hepatitis B virus infection. According to truvada.com, this could happen when you stop taking Truvada. Hence, patients with hepatitis B who stop taking Truvada should be closely monitored by their doctors to check for “flare-ups” which is medicalese for when a disease comes back in a worse way than before.
4. Kidney problems. Patients with past kidney problems as well as those who take in other medicines that can lead to kidney problems should schedule regular blood tests to check their kidneys.
5. Thinning bones or changes in bone mineral density. Clinical tests have shown changes in the bones of patients treated with Truvada. Doctors of patients with previous bone problems may have to conduct some tests to check their patient’s bone mineral density.
Aside from the above serious side effects, Truvada also has common side effects which are as follows (via truvada.com):
The most common side effects of the medicines in Truvada when taken with other anti-HIV-1 medicines are diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, abnormal dreams, sleeping problems, rash, depression, and vomiting. Additional side effects are lactic acidosis, kidney problems (including decline or failure of kidney function), inflammation of the pancreas, inflammation of the liver, allergic reaction (including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), shortness of breath, pain, fatty liver, stomach pain, weakness, indigestion, intestinal gas, and high volume of urine and thirst caused by kidney problems. Muscle pain and muscle weakness, bone pain, and softening of the bone (which may contribute to fractures) as a consequence of kidney problems have been reported. Skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) may also happen with Truvada.
Please note that the Food and Drug Administration has approved Truvada only for the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS. The agency has not approved its use for the prevention of HIV/AIDS.