Brand names: Viread
Viread is one of the drugs prescribed to fight HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV attacks the immune system, slowly destroying the body's ability to fight off infection. Viread staves off the attack by interfering with HIV reverse transcriptase, an enzyme the virus needs to reproduce.
Viread lowers the amount of HIV in the blood and may help increase the number of T cells, important agents of the immune system that kill microscopic foreign invaders. It is used in combination with other anti-HIV drugs when these drugs are not effective by themselves.
Viread does not completely eliminate HIV or totally restore the immune system. There is still a danger of serious infections, so you should be sure to see your doctor regularly for monitoring and tests. Notify your doctor immediately of any changes in your general health.
Be sure to take Viread once a day, every day. Set up a regular schedule so you won't forget, and always get a new supply when the drug runs low. If you don't keep the drug in your system, the virus may develop resistance. Take Viread with meals. Food increases the amount of Viread that reaches the bloodstream.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Viread.
If Viread gives you an allergic reaction, you'll be unable to use it.
Remember that Viread does not eliminate HIV from the body. The infection can still be passed to others through sexual contact or blood contamination.
Viread should be used with caution if you have liver disease. The drug has been known to cause liver damage and a buildup of lactic acid in the blood—a dangerous and potentially fatal condition. If you are a woman, are overweight, have liver disease, or have used Viread for a long time you are more likely to develop this condition. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any signs of lactic acid buildup, including shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and stomach/intestinal pain.
At the beginning of Viread therapy, your immune system may have an inflammatory reaction to other infections in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Contact your doctor if you feel you are having such a reaction.
If you have a kidney condition, make sure your doctor knows. People with severe kidney problems shouldn't take Viread.
You should know that some people taking HIV medications experience a change in fat distribution, with increased fat in the upper back and neck and loss of fat from the arms, legs, and face.
Viread has not been approved for children.
If Viread is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Viread with the following:Acyclovir (Zovirax)Cidofovir (Vistide)Didanosine (Videx)Ganciclovir (Cytovene)Valacyclovir (Valtrex)Valganciclovir (Valcyte)
Although there's no evidence that Viread can harm a developing baby, the drug has not been adequately studied during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.
Do not breastfeed. HIV appears in breast milk and can infect the nursing infant.
The dose is 300 milligrams (1 tablet) taken once a day with a meal.
No information on overdose of Viread is available. However any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately.