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What is Atripla Medication Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Atripla?

Atripla is an HIV medication that comes as a fixed-dosed pill. It contains three antiretroviral drugs: efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir DF. Efavirenz, brand name Sustiva, is a drug that belongs to the class of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs, or ‘non-nukes’). Emtricitabine, brand name Emtriva, is a nucleoside analogue, or ‘nuke’, as is tenofovir DF, brand name Viread. Atripla is manufactured by Gilead Sciences.

What is Atripla Used to Treat?

Atripla is used as part of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat patients with HIV. It does not cure HIV, but it does slow down or stop the body from producing more of the virus. The drug is used because it inhibits the activity of the enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT), which plays a role in producing more HIV-infected cells. When the enzyme is inhibited, HIV-infected cells will not produce new viruses at the rate they usually would.

How to Take It

Atripla HIV medication is an oral tablet and should be taken once daily on an empty stomach. As it is a fixed-dose medication, it does not need to be taken in combination with other drugs, as some anti-retroviral medications require. It is recommended to take Altripla before bed.

Atripla Side Effects

As there are three drugs combined in each tablet, there are quite a few side effects that may occur. This is because each drug has its own potential side effects.

Common Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Severe Side Effects

  • Mental health issues including suicidal thoughts and risk of suicide
  • Pancreatitis (symptoms include abdominal pain, unexpected sweating, fever, anxiety)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (symptoms include feeling faint or fainting, seizures)
  • Temporary breast enlargement in men
  • Kidney dysfunction or failure


Each tablet of Atripla contains 600 mg of efavirenz, 200 mg of emtricitabine, and 300 mg of tenofovir DF. The standard adult dose is one tablet of Atripla daily, taken on an empty stomach at bedtime.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions have been reported with Atripla, leading to serious, possibly life-threatening, consequences. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about any other prescription or non-prescription medications you are taking prior to using Atripla.

The manufacturer recommends that Atripla drug not be used by patients taking the following medications:

  1. Antihistamines, such as astemizole (Hismanal)
  2. Anti-migraine drugs (ergot derivatives), such as dihydroergotamine (Migranal), ergotamine (Ergomar)
  3. Anti-anxiety drugs, such as midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion)
  4. Gastrointestinal motility drugs, such as cisapride (Prepulsid)
  5. Anti-fungal drugs, such as voriconazole (Vfend), posaconazole (Posanol)
  6. Anti-psychotic drugs, such as pimozide (Orap)

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