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More Info on Emtricitabine Indications

How Does Emtricitabine Work?

Emtricitabine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). NRTI medications work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. Like other viruses, HIV must use a person's own cells to reproduce. However, HIV is a little different than other viruses because it must first convert its genetic material from RNA to DNA. It is the DNA genes that allow HIV to multiply.
HIV converts its genetic material by using a special protein called the reverse transcriptase enzyme. To create DNA, this enzyme uses several different molecular building blocks.
Emtricitabine works by tricking reverse transcriptase into thinking it is one of these molecular building blocks. However, it is just different enough that when used to create DNA, emtricitabine actually stops the DNA from being made. Without DNA, HIV cannot multiply.
Emtricitabine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. Although it can help stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.

Emtricitabine Use in Children

Emtricitabine is approved for use in children, including very young children (such as newborns). For most children, the oral solution (liquid) form of emtricitabine works best, as the capsules may be difficult to swallow and contain too much emtricitabine for many children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using emtricitabine in children.

Off-Label Emtricitabine Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend emtricitabine for treating something other than HIV infection and AIDS. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, emtricitabine is used off-label to prevent HIV infection in people exposed to the HIV virus (such as a healthcare worker who is stuck with a contaminated needle). This is called postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Emtricitabine -- HIV Drug Information

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