STD Home > Important Instructions for Emtricitabine

Drug Interactions

Emtricitabine can interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Emtricitabine).

What If I Overdose on This Medicine?

It is not known exactly what to expect from an overdose of emtricitabine. If you happen to take too much of this drug, seek immediate medical attention.
(Click Emtriva Overdose for more information.)

Storage Methods

Emtricitabine should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Keep both capsules and oral solution in an airtight container.
Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children.

What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose of Emtricitabine?

It is very important that not miss emtricitabine doses. If you do not take your medicine as scheduled, take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one and continue with your regular schedule. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are having trouble remembering to take your HIV medications.

How Does This Medicine 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, it must use a person's own cells to reproduce. However, HIV is a little different from 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, the medication actually stops 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 healthy cells in the body, it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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