What is a Generic Drug?

A generic drug is a copy of the brand-name drug with the same dosage, safety, strength, quality, consumption method, performance, and intended use. Before generics become available on the market, the generic company must prove it has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and works in the same way and in the same amount of time in the body.

The only differences between generics and their brand-name counterparts is that generics are less expensive and may look slightly different (eg. different shape or color), as trademarks laws prevent a generic from looking exactly like the brand-name drug.

Generics are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have to invest large sums of money to develop a drug. When the brand-name patent expires, generic companies can manufacture a copy of the brand-name and sell it at a substantial discount.

Descovy (Emtricitabine / Tenofovir)


Descovy (Emtricitabine / Tenofovir)

Prescription Required

200mg / 10mg
200mg / 25mg

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  • Product Details


    Descovy is an antiviral medication primarily used to treat HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. It can also be used when a person is co-infected with both HIV and hepatitis B.

    Descovy should only be prescribed by healthcare providers specifically trained in the management of HIV infection.

    The active drugs in Descovy work by incorporating into the DNA of the HIV viruses. By doing so, they prevent the replication of the viruses. The immune system is then able to contain the infection better.

    Descovy is typically a long-term medication that suppresses active HIV infection.

    Fact Table


    Emtricitabine: C8H10FN3O3S Tenofovir Alafenamide: C21H29N6O5P


    US FDA


    Emtricitabine: High (approximately 93%)

    Legal status


    Chemical Name

    Emtricitabine / Tenofovir

    Elimination half-life

    Emtricitabine: 10 hours Tenofovir Alafenamide: 0.51 hours

    Dosage (Strength)

    200mg / 10mg, 200mg / 25mg


    Consult Doctor



    Protein binding

    Emtricitabine: less than 4% Tenofovir Alafenamide: More than 80%

    PubChem CID

    Emtricitabine: 60877 Tenofovir Alafenamide: 66827819




    Emtricitabine: 31553 Tenofovir Alafenamide: Not listed

    ATC code



    Emtricitabine: DB00879 Tenofovir Alafenamide: DB09299


    Emtricitabine: D01199 Tenofovir Alafenamide: D10428

    Routes of administration



    The usual dosage is one tablet of Descovy once daily. Take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. 

    Descovy should be taken in combination with other antiviral agents.


    Descovy contains two active ingredients: tenofovir alafenamide 200 mg and emtricitabine 25 mg.


    Descovy has many potential drug-drug interactions, including:

    • Acyclovir-Valacyclovir
    • Adefovir
    • Aminoglycosides
    • Cabozantinib
    • Carbamazepine
    • Cidofovir
    • Cladribine
    • Cobicistat
    • Fosphenytoin-Phenytoin
    • Ganciclovir-Valganciclovir
    • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
    • Orlistat
    • Oxcarbazepine
    • Phenobarbital
    • Primidone
    • Rifabutin
    • Rifampin
    • Rifapentine
    • Ritonavir
    • St John's Wort
    • Tipranavir

    Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all medications you are taking before starting Descovy. Drug-drug interactions can be severe and may impact how well Descovy works.


    Missing dosing of Descovy may increase the risk of viral resistance. It may also increase the risk of hepatitis B exacerbation in people with a history of hepatitis B infection.

    Use caution if you have a history of liver problems or lactic acidosis.

    Use caution if you have a history of kidney problems.

    Side Effects

    Common Descovy side effects may include:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Decreased bone mineral density
    • Exacerbation of hepatitis B
    • Fanconi's syndrome
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Increased serum triglycerides
    • Proximal tubular nephropathy
    • Skin rash urticaria


    Descovy [package insert]. Foster City, CA: Gilead; 2021.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Descovy (Emtricitabine / Tenofovir)

    What is Descovy (Emtricitabine / Tenofovir)?

    Descovy is a prescription medication that contains the combination of two active ingredients, Emtricitabine and Tenofovir. It belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and is primarily used to treat and prevent HIV infection.

    How does Descovy work?

    Descovy works by inhibiting the replication of the HIV virus in the body. Emtricitabine and Tenofovir block the reverse transcriptase enzyme, which is essential for HIV replication. This helps reduce the viral load and maintain a lower level of HIV in the bloodstream.

    Who should take Descovy (Emtricitabine / Tenofovir)?

    Descovy is typically prescribed for individuals who are HIV-positive as part of their antiretroviral therapy. It is also used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those at high risk of contracting HIV.

    What are the common side effects of Descovy?

    Common side effects of Descovy may include nausea, diarrhea, headache, abdominal pain, and fatigue. It's important to discuss any side effects with your healthcare provider.

    How is Descovy taken?

    Descovy is usually taken orally in the form of tablets. The dosing regimen may vary depending on whether it is used for HIV treatment or PrEP. It's crucial to follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

    Can I take Descovy with other medications?

    Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to avoid potential drug interactions. Some drugs may interact with Descovy, so your doctor can make necessary adjustments.

    Is Descovy safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

    If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the use of Descovy with your healthcare provider. They will assess the risks and benefits to determine if it is safe for you and your baby.

    Can I stop taking Descovy once my HIV is under control?

    Do not stop taking Descovy without consulting your healthcare provider. Stopping the medication too soon can lead to a resurgence of the virus and potential resistance to treatment. Your doctor will determine the appropriate time to discontinue treatment.

    Is Descovy available over-the-counter (OTC)?

    Descovy is not available over-the-counter and requires a prescription from a healthcare provider.

    How long do I need to take Descovy for HIV treatment or PrEP?

    The duration of Descovy treatment will depend on your individual condition and healthcare provider's recommendations. For HIV treatment, it is typically taken long-term. PrEP duration may vary based on your risk factors and ongoing assessment by your doctor.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.

    Product Code : 13220

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