Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a term not many people know. Since 1981 when the world recorded the first cases of HIV and AIDS till date, the race has been on for a cure. Researchers in the medical community have spent billions of dollars trying to find a lasting cure that remains elusive. Finally, however, they came up with a treatment that helps reduce the rate the infection spreads.
This treatment is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This article takes an in-depth look at the PrEP treatment and the possible side effects. If you or anyone else you know suffers a harmful side effect from a PrEP medication, our mass tort lawyers at Dalimonte Rueb Stoller, LLP, can help you get compensation. So, contact us today.
What Is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis?
PrEP is an HIV prevention treatment for people who do not have the virus but have a high risk of contracting it if exposed. Pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs stop HIV from taking hold and multiplying in your body. It simply means that if you’re on PrEP medication, you’ll likely not contract HIV when exposed.
The drug is available by prescription to HIV-negative adults and teenagers at high risk of getting the virus through sex or drug injection. In other words, a pre-exposure prophylaxis medication is useless to someone who already has the virus. People who take daily PrEP drugs have a 90% chance of not contracting the virus through sex. Those who inject drugs have a reduced risk of 70%.
Who Should Get Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Medication?
PrEP is applicable to those with an active sex life who do not use condoms. Even if you do, it is recommended that you take the medication. Also, the following class of people should go on this treatment:
- Those with sexual partners who are HIV positive, especially if the partner has an unknown or detectable viral load
- People who do not consistently use a condom
- Those who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) within six months
- People who have an injection partner with HIV, who share needles, syringes, and other injection equipment
- Those who are using a PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) drug and continue to exhibit risk behavior or use multiple courses of PEP
What Drugs Are Available as PrEP?
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has only approved two drugs for daily use as PrEP. They are a combination of two anti-HIV medications in a single pill. They are:
- Emtricitabine (F) 200 mg in combination with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) 300 mg. The brand name is Truvada, and it is recommended for all adults and adolescents at risk for HIV through sex or injection. A generic version of the drug is also available.
- Emtricitabine (F) 200 mg in combination with tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) 25 mg. The brand name is Descovy, and it is recommended for all adults and adolescents at risk for HIV through sex, excluding those at risk through vaginal sex. This is because there is currently no Descovy study for HIV prevention for receptive vaginal intercourse.
Are Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Drugs Safe?
This is the million dollars question. Indeed, PrEP medications are effective in preventing HIV infection, but how safe are they? Generally, PrEP drugs are safe, with many people using them for years without complaint. However, there have been serious complaints about the adverse side effects of the PrEP drug Truvada.
This had, in turn, led to several lawsuits against the manufacturers of the drug, Gilead Sciences. Some of the common side effects are:
- Acute or chronic kidney disease due to the poor bioavailability of Truvada making it hard for the body to absorb the drug. This could result in kidney failure if left untreated.
- Fanconi syndrome occurs when impaired kidney tubule function affects urine’s chemical makeup.
- Osteopenia due to weakened bone mineral density
- Osteoporosis causing the bone to become brittle and fracture easily
- Osteomalacia causing the bones to break down more quickly than they can reform
A person who suffers from these side effects can bring a lawsuit to get compensation for the harm caused. They can recover medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. However, proving that Gilead knew of Truvada’s defects is not an easy thing to do, so consult a mass tort attorney if you’re considering a lawsuit.
Contact Dalimonte Rueb Stoller Today!
If you suffered a severe side effect from a pre-exposure prophylaxis drug like Truvada, our mass tort lawyers at Dalimonte Rueb Stoller could help you. We’ve represented several clients against Big Pharma and gotten results. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.