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Complera is an antiretroviral drug that combines three medicines into a single pill to treat the human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV. Taking Complera as a combination drug reduces pill burden for those dealing with HIV and makes their dosage much easier to take.
HIV is always treated with multiple medications in order to reduce the amount of the virus in your body (viral load) by attacking it at different stages so there is a higher rate of success. If the virus becomes resistant to one drug, there are still drugs remaining that can continue to reduce the virus’ numbers. There are no drugs that will protect you from transmitting HIV to others so caution must still be a high priority.
Once taken as directed, Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Disoproxil, the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors block reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme that is needed for the virus to replicate by changing their genetic material (RNA) into DNA after they have taken over a cell. At the same time, Rilpivirine, the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (non-nuke), attaches to the reverse transcriptase enzyme to stop it from converting its RNA into DNA.
This provides action at different levels of the viral infection and improves the decline of the viral load. Complera does not cure HIV, but it can help reduce your symptoms and allow your CD4 cells to regain their numbers so they can help defend your body against other infections and allow you to live your life and continue to work, go to school, socialize, and enjoy yourself. However, you are still infectious so proper steps must be taken to avoid infecting others.
Within a short time after contracting HIV, many people are totally unaware they are infected and instead believe they have the possible flu with symptoms such as fever, headache, and nausea. Your body responds to the infected cells circulating in your blood system by making HIV antibodies and T-cells and at the 2-4 week mark from initial infection, an attack is launched to destroy the invading viruses. Your HIV levels will drop and the T-cells will rebound somewhat.
The next stage of HIV infection can go on for as long as ten years as you carry on your daily routine without complications from the infection. Even though the circulating level of HIV in your blood may be almost undetectable, you are still infectious and can pass this virus to others. This may be the time you start a drug regimen as recommended by your doctor to keep the virus levels low. If you choose not to take drugs at this time, the viral load will increase as your immune system is slowly destroyed. In the final stage, the HIV virus progresses to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The life span of those with AIDS is increasing as well because of the advances made in drugs.
Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Complera if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Discuss other medical conditions and allergies you have and list all current OTC and Rx medications you take, including herbal preparations and dietary or vitamin supplements so it can be determined if Complera is the right treatment drug for you.
You should not drive, operate machinery, or perform any duties that could be considered unsafe until you know how Complera will affect you. Do not suddenly stop taking Complera as this could make the virus less sensitive to the active ingredients and other conditions may become worse. You must still use protection during any sexual contact and never share needles, injection supplies, razors, or toothbrushes.