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What is Genvoya Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Genvoya Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Genvoya?

Genvoya is a is a medication used in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus responsible for the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the human body. Genvoya is a combination medication containing four active ingredients, elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide, which work conjunctively to block the behavior of the virus’ enzymatic replication processes. Such four-medication combination tablets have been termed ‘quad pills’.

Introduced to the pharmaceutical market in 2016, Genvoya is produced and marketed by the U.S. company Gilead Sciences. A previous quad pill and successor to Genvoya, trade named Stribild, was introduced to the market in 2012 by Gilead, and contained tenofovir disoproxil instead of tenofovir alafenamide. Following its approval and availability for sale, it has proved to be among the most prescribed HIV medications in North America and is the most prescribed medication to HIV patients who are treatment naïve, meaning they have not yet undergone treatment for the virus.

What is It Used For?

Genvoya is used as a medication in the treatment of HIV Type 1 (HIV-1). As a combination of four existing HIV-1 medications, it is used as an all-in-one treatment, as opposed to other HIV-1 medications that must be taken alongside other similar drugs in order to be effective. Each tablet contains the following active ingredients: 200 mg of emtricitabine; 150 mg of elvitegravir; 150 mg of cobicistat; and 10 mg of tenofovir alafenamide. The first and last of these, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, are reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, which blocks the virus’ use of the enzyme reverse-transcriptase in its DNA replication cycle.

Of the other two active ingredients, elvitegravir is an integrase inhibitor, blocking the activity of the enzyme integrase that the virus uses to insert itself into DNA chains, while cobicistat is used to inhibit the activity of human liver enzymes that metabolize the other drugs, thus increasing the medication’s blood levels and improving efficacy. 

How to Take This Medication

Genvoya is available in the form of small, green, capsule-shaped tablets, taken orally. The effects of taking crushed or chewed Genvoya tablets are currently being evaluated; as such, patients should swallow tablets whole unless otherwise indicated. Expired tablets should not be consumed. To maximize bodily absorption, the drug should always be taken with food; however, grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided while taking this medication. Unlike other HIV medications, the drug is not intended to be taken with other antiretroviral drugs, as it contains all necessary active ingredients.

Genvoya Side Effects

Like other HIV medications, taking Genvoya carries a risk of side effects that range from mild and manageable to severe and requiring urgent attention. Patients should consult their health care provider to discuss all other drugs being taken prior to beginning treatment with Genvoya, as this can increase the likelihood and severity of adverse effects.

Some of the most common side effects of Genvoya are:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • increase or decrease in body fat

The following side effects occur less frequently, but may require immediate medical attention:

  • depression
  • respiratory tract infection
  • discoloration of urine or stool
  • yellowing of skin, nails or eyes
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain

In addition to the above, Genvoya has been assessed as being unsafe for pregnant women and should not be taken during pregnancy. Patients with a lower than normal creatinine clearance should also avoid this medication.

Dosage

The standard dosage of Genvoya is one tablet per day, taken with food. The medication is not intended for use in individuals weighing under 25 kg (55 lbs), and its effects on children under the age of six are currently being evaluated. As such, these groups should avoid this medication unless otherwise advised by their health care provider. In the event of a missed dose, patients should take a tablet as soon as possible, but should not double their next dose if a tablet has been skipped entirely.

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