What is Complera Medication Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Complera Medication Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Complera?

Complera is a fixed-dose antiretroviral drug that contains three drugs: tenofovir, emtricitabine, and rilpivirine. Complera uses a co-formulation that contains drugs of different classes, as rilpivirine, brand name Edurant, is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, emtricitabine, brand name Emtriva, is a nucleoside analogue (‘nuke’), and tenofovir, brand name Viread, is a nucleotide analogue. The drug is manufactured by Gilead Sciences.

What is This Medication Used For?

Complera medication is used to treat, not cure, HIV. It is indicated for combination therapy for people with HIV who have no prior experience with anti-HIV drugs or those who have HIV and have not developed a resistance to any of the three drugs in Complera (emtricitabine /rilpivirine/ tenofovir).

The drug is used to interfere with the activity of the enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT). Reverse transcriptase is used by HIV-infected cells to create copies of the virus, so when the enzyme is inhibited, the production and spread of HIV is slowed down.

How to Take It

Complera HIV drug comes in a purplish-pink tablet that must be taken daily with a meal. However, grapefruits and grapefruit juice should be avoided, as they increase the concentration of rilpivirine which could lead to side effects.

Complera Side Effects

Complera is a safe and effective drug that has been clinically tested. However, there are some side effects that may occur. If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking the drug and contact a doctor immediately.

Common Side Effects  

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness during the daytime
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

Severe Side Effects

  • Depression
  • Lactic acidosis, or a higher-than-normal level of lactic acid in the blood (symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, unexpected muscle pain, light-headedness)
  • Kidney dysfunction


The standard adult dose of Complera is 1 tablet taken once a day with a meal. Each tablet contains 25 mg of rilpivirine, 200 mg of emtricitabine, and 300 mg of tenofovir.

Drug Interactions

Complera has been known to react with some medications, so it is important to consult with your doctor about what prescription and non-prescription drugs you are already taking.

The following medications should not be taken with Complera, as they can decrease the concentration of rilpivirine in the body and cause complications:

  • Antibiotics for tuberculosis or mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), such as rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifadin, Rofact and in Rifater), rifampicin and rifapentine
  • Antiseizure drugs, such as carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
  • Corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone given as pills or by injection
  • Herbs, such as St. John’s wort (hypericin, hyperforin)
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as dexlansoprazole (Dexilant),esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Losec), pantoprazole (Pantoloc), rabeprazole (Pariet)
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this article are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. This article, and other AIDS and HIV Information articles on AIDS Drugs Online, are not written by AIDS Drugs Online or reviewed by its staff for medical validity. All views and opinions expressed by the third-party authors are not endorsed by AIDS Drugs Online or its staff. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice.


Reset your password

Please enter your email below, and we will send you a new password.

Still having trouble signing in?

If you're unable to reset your password, please call Customer Service at 1-888-243-7675.