Whta is Descovy?
Descovy is a combination formulation of the NRTI (Nucleoside and Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor) drugs emtricitabine (200mg) and tenofovir alafenamide (25mg). It is used to treat HIV in patients without a Hepatitis B virus (HBV) or Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection. The drug contains tenofovir alafenamide, which is a newer formulation of the NRTI tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. There are differences in the drug as tenofovir alafenamide, the version present in Descovy, has a reduced amount of side effects.
Dosing & Administration
Descovy HIV medication is used to treat HIV in adults and children (weighing at least 25 kg), in combination with other antiretroviral medications. The medication comes in a film-coated oral tablet. The tablet should be taken once a day, with or without food.
Patients with mild to moderate liver dysfunction do not require dosage adjustments. Descovy should not be used if the creatinine clearance is less than 30 mL/min, however dosage adjustments are not required in renal dysfunction. Details about dosage are explained in the package insert.
Descovy is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to the drug.
Descovy Side Effects
Descovy is associated with hepatotoxicity and with reduced bone mineral density (BMD).
Other possible side effects include:
- body fat redistribution,
- immune reactivation syndrome,
- increased cholesterol,
- More details about potential side effects are listed in the package insert.
Descovy should not be used in HIV patients who are co-infected with HBV of HCV due to increased risk of hepatotoxicity. It is not indicated for the treatment of HBV infection.
Patients who test positive for HIV should be screened for a comorbid HBV infection. Regardless of CD4 counts or HBV viral loads, co-infected patients should be started on an antiretroviral regimen targeting both viruses. Drug regimens and prescribing considerations are outlined in the current HIV treatment guidelines.
Current HIV treatment guidelines recommend testing for comorbidity between HIV and HCV. Ongoing testing for those at high risk is recommended. If co-infection is identified, treating both infections concurrently should be considered.
Patients who develop lactic acidosis or hepatomegaly should have their Descovy therapy suspended. Further details about monitoring recommendations and screening are available in the package insert.
There is the risk of reduced BMD while taking Descovy, so BMD monitoring should be considered.
There are potential drug-to-drug and herbal interactions listed with Descovy. Details are provided in the package insert.
Pregnancy & Lactation
Effects of Descovy in pregnancy are not yet know, so current guidelines should be consulted before using this medciation in pregnant women. All pregnant women with HIV should use a highly active retroviral combination treatment. Since it is not determined whether Descovy is transmitted through breast milk, breastfeeding is to be avoided.
The use of close observation and standard supportive measures should be used in the case of a drug overdose. Both active ingredients of Descovy are partially dialyzed.
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