FDA Approves Descovy, an Updated Version of Truvada -- But Not for PrEP

April 5, 2016


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week approved Descovy, Gilead Sciences' latest combination pill containing emtricitabine and an updated version of tenofovir. The new tenofovir alafenamide, or TAF, is easier on the kidneys and bones than its predecessor, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF).

Descovy offers a new option for antiretroviral treatment, but it was not approved for HIV prevention -- and it is not yet clear whether it will work as well for PrEP as Truvada, which contains TDF and emtricitabine. Daily Truvada remains the only FDA-approved PrEP regimen.

"Emtricitabine and TAF is not known to work for PrEP, and may work poorly because of low penetration of the drug into rectal and vaginal tissues," Robert Grant, M.D., from the UCSF Gladstone Institutes and San Francisco AIDS Foundation told BETA. "Emtricitabine and TDF is quite safe for PrEP and is known to work when used."

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