Emtricitabine (Emtriva)

Emtricitabine (FTC, Emtriva) is an antiviral drug that reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Anti-HIV drugs such as emtricitabine slow down or prevent damage to the immune system, and reduce the risk of developing AIDS-related illnesses. Emtricitabine is also active against hepatitis B virus.

Emtricitabine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). When HIV infects a cell, the enzyme reverse transcriptase copies the viral single-stranded RNA genome into double-stranded viral DNA. This viral DNA is then integrated into the CD4 chromosomal DNA and can go on to reproduce in the body. Four natural nucleosides complete the DNA synthesis: adenosine, cytidine, quanosine, and thymidine. An NRTI drug substitutes a defective version of one of the nucleosides, causing premature termination of the proviral DNA chain.

Emtricitabine was developed by Triangle Pharmaceuticals and acquired by Gilead Pharmaceuticals in December 2002. Emtricitabine is marketed by Gilead as Emtriva. It was also marketed under the trade name Coviracil. Its chemical name is 2’,3’-dideoxy-5-fluoro-3’-thiacytidine.

Emtricitabine was authorised in the United States in July 2003 and in the European Union in October of that year. It was proposed, but has not been approved, as a therapy for hepatitis B.

Emtricitabine is almost always used as part of a fixed-dose combination product.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in August 2004 that it had approved a once-daily combination tablet containing 200mg emtricitabine and 300mg tenofovir. The combination tablet is marketed as Truvada by Gilead worldwide. Truvada was approved in the European Union in November 2004. See Truvada for further details.

Emtricitabine is also available in a triple-drug combination tablet called Atripla. This is the first once-daily tablet containing a complete HIV treatment regimen. It contains 600mg efavirenz, 200mg emtricitabine, and 300mg tenofovir. It was approved in the United States in July 2006 and in the European Union in late 2007. See Atripla for further details.

Emtricitabine is also available as a component of the following fixed-dose products:

  • Descovy (emtricitabine & tenofovir alafenamide)
  • Genvoya (tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine/elvitegravir/cobicistat)
  • Stribild (tenofovir disoproxil/emtricitabine/elvitegravir/cobicistat)
  • Odefsey (tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine/rilpivirine)
  • Eviplera (tenofovir disoproxil/emtricitabine/rilpivirine)
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.