Atripla is a prescription medication that can be used alone as a complete regimen, or in combination with other anti-HIV-1 medicines, to treat HIV-1 in patients. Atripla is a fixed dose combination of Emtricitabine, Tenofovir, and Efavirenz in a single pill to simplify your dosing schedule and reduce pill burden.
Although the active ingredients of Atripla work in a similar fashion, there are some slight differences. Emtricitabine and Tenofovir are nucleoside RTIs (NRTIs), while Efavirenz is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or NNRTI. Both NNRTIs and NRTIs block an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase. (An enzyme is a protein that starts or increases the speed of a chemical reaction.) By blocking reverse transcriptase, the three drugs in combination prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.
Viruses are like a brain without a body and in order to multiply and make new viruses, they have to take over a cell and insert their “instructions” into it. Once the virus has a body, it can start taking over more and more cells and increase their numbers. It is usually the CD4 cells that are taken over because of the proteins found on their surface. CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that is very important to your immune system as they act as first responders when there is a threat detected.
As HIV flourishes, your white blood cell numbers begin to fall. It is at this point that you may develop symptoms of infection. Some people may take longer to show signs of HIV than others, which is why it’s so important to be tested for HIV regularly if you are at risk for infection.
The potential for possible drug interactions with Atripla makes it imperative that your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all other medications you currently take, whether they require a prescription or not. You should not stop, start, or adjust the dosage of any medications you are taking without consulting with your physician.
Atripla medication may reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control measures, such as pills, patches, or rings. You should consult your doctor about an alternative form of birth control to be used in addition to an effective barrier method to reduce the possibility of spreading HIV.
You should not take Atripla with other products that contain Emtricitabine or Tenofovir; you should only take another product that contains Efavirenz if specifically directed by your doctor.
Some medications, such as those prescribed to treat seizures, can affect the way Atripla is removed from your system. Conversely, Atripla can speed up the removal of certain drugs from your body, affecting the way they work.
Other medications may cause problems when taken at the same time as Atripla. Advise your healthcare provider about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines that you buy without a prescription, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
As with many HIV medications the price to buy Atripla at a local pharmacy will likely be very expensive. However you can buy generic Atripla online at a fraction of the price of the brand name product. Generic drugs have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name product. Generic drugs do not need to contain the same inactive ingredients as the brand name product. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Atripla should be taken by mouth, once a day, on an empty stomach (two hours after eating). Taking Atripla at bedtime may help decrease side effects. Atripla should be taken at approximately the same time every day, as the medication works best when maintained at a consistent level.
Beware of symptoms such as stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and an irregular heartbeat as Atripla can cause a buildup of lactic acid in your blood. This can be dangerous so see your doctor right away if any of these occur.
Atripla may make you feel drowsy or lightheaded so do not undertake any activities that could be considered risky. You should not consume any alcohol while taking Atripla as it can intensify the effects of the drug. Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.