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Precautions and Warnings With Etravirine

There are numerous precautions and warnings with etravirine that you should be aware of before starting treatment, including potential side effects of the drug. Etravirine can cause skin rashes, change the distribution of fat on your body, and interact with many medications. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before using this medicine if you are pregnant, have any allergies, or are breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Etravirine?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking etravirine (Intelence®) if you:
  • Have liver problems, such as hepatitis
  • Have any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking etravirine include the following:
  • Etravirine can interact with several different medications. Many of these interactions are quite dangerous. Make sure that all of your healthcare providers know that you are taking etravirine, and make sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any new medications (see Drug Interactions With Etravirine for more information).
  • Etravirine often causes harmless skin rashes. However, if you have a rash with blisters, loss of skin, a fever, facial or mouth swelling, breathing problems, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, or mouth sores, stop taking etravirine and be sure to tell your healthcare provider immediately, as this may be a sign of a life-threatening reaction to etravirine. Rashes occur most commonly within the first six weeks of treatment, but can happen any time.
  • Etravirine can change the distribution of fat on your body. You may gain fat in areas that are not typical for you, such as in the abdomen or at the back of the neck (a "buffalo hump"), and may lose weight in other areas, such as the legs, arms, and face. The effects of this fat redistribution on long-term health are unknown at this time.
  • Etravirine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. If you have HIV or AIDS, you should always use safer sex practices, whether or not you are taking medications. You should also avoid sharing needles or other items that may contain your blood or body fluids.
  • As will all HIV medications, it is important that you take etravirine exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.
  • As with other HIV medications, starting etravirine can cause your body to start fighting off previously undetected infections (as the immune system begins to work more normally again).
  • Etravirine is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Intelence and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known whether etravirine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Intelence and Breastfeeding). It is important to understand that the HIV virus can be transmitted through breast milk and that breastfeeding is usually not recommended in women with HIV or AIDS.

Etravirine Drug Information

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