Is brand-name Truvada® more effective than generic emtricitabine/tenofovir?
If you are like millions of people living with a partner who has HIV or if you are currently HIV-negative and wondering if prevention of HIV through PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), is a way to prevent HIV infection, you’re not alone. Also, if you are wondering if there is a more affordable way to get this prescription medication, you’re definitely not alone. Brand name medication often costs far more than generic medication. Fortunately, PrEP medication does come in a generic form.
There are two medications, when used as a combination, that are approved for daily use as PrEP. Tenofovir and emtricitabine are combined into one prescription medication, Truvada®. Truvada® is the brand name of the generic medicine emtricitabine/tenofovir. This fixed-dose medication is a combination of two antiretroviral medications called tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine and is prescribed for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
According to research presented to the International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection (HIV Glasgow), tested generic PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) was shown to carry the same amounts of emtricitabine and tenofovir as the brand name medication, Truvada®. (Source: Aidsmap.com)
Generic drugs, by law, must be identical in active ingredients to the brand-name drug which was approved by the FDA. The dosage must be equivalent, as well as the listed side effects, usage, safety warnings and strength.
The FDA states: “When a generic drug product is approved, it has met rigorous standards established by the FDA with respect to identity, strength, quality, purity, and potency.”
The other difference between prescription brand-name medications and generic medications is the cost. According to the Association for Accessible Medicines, generic medications have saved Americans over $1.67 trillion over the last decade.
Brand-name Truvada® is available in the following strength and amounts:
Truvada® 200 mg/300 mg – 30 tablets, 60 tablets, or 90 tablets.
Emtricitabine/tenofovir is available in the following strength and amounts:
Emtricitabine/tenofovir – 200 mg/300 mg – 30 tablets, 60 tablets, or 90 tablets.
Consumers are encouraged to realize that both the generic and the brand name products contain the exact same active ingredients. However, the generic medication is much cheaper.
Emtricitabine and tenofovir are in a class of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which work to reduce the amount of HIV enzymes called reverse transcriptase. In doing so, the HIV is less likely to multiply and the amount of HIV in the body is reduced.
For those who want to take emtricitabine/tenofovir to prevent HIV/AIDS, it is to be used along with safe sex practices and it must be taken daily.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at risk by up to 92%.”
For more information please read:
Preventing HIV with PrEP
What is the difference between a generic medication and a brand-name medication?
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This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnoses or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).