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Tenofovir Side Effects

Tenofovir Side Effects

What is tenofovir?

Tenofovir is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet and oral powder.

Tenofovir oral tablet is available as a generic drug and as the brand-name drugs Viread and Vemlidy.

This drug is used as part of a combination therapy. That means you’ll likely take this drug in combination with other drugs to treat your condition.

Tenofovir side effects

Tenofovir oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that occur with tenofovir include:

  • depression
  • pain
  • back pain
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • trouble sleeping
  • nausea or vomiting
  • rash 

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

Lactic acidosis. Symptoms can include:

  • weakness
  • muscle pain
  • stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
  • irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • trouble breathing
  • feelings of coldness in the legs or arms

Liver enlargement. Symptoms can include:

  • dark urine
  • abdominal pain or discomfort
  • fatigue
  • yellowing skin
  • nausea

Worsening hepatitis B virus infection. Symptoms can include:

  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • fever
  • nausea
  • weakness
  • yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Decreased bone mineral density
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome. Symptoms can include those of past infections.
  • Kidney damage and reduced kidney function. This can happen slowly without many symptoms, or cause symptoms such as:
  • fatigue
  • aching
  • puffiness

Incidence Not Known

  • Agitation
  • bone pain
  • changes in urination
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased thirst
  • muscle twitching
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • stupor
  • swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • weight gain
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects of tenofovir may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More Common

  • lack or loss of strength
  • pain
  • redness of the skin

Less Common

  • Burning, crawling, itching, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • joint pain or swelling
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • passing of gas

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