Atripla

Atripla is a once-a-day tablet used to treat HIV. However, the expensive medication contains tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), which can cause severe kidney and bone problems. Victims of TDF’s side effects have accused Atripla’s creator, Gilead Sciences, of intentionally delaying a safer alternative to TDF to maximize profits.

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What Is Atripla?

Created by Gilead Sciences, Atripla is an HIV drug made from three antiviral medications — efavirenz (EFV), emtricitabine (FTC), and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF).

In 2006, the FDA approved Atripla as an HIV medication to be taken by itself or with other HIV drugs. However, Atripla has many health risks, including severe kidney, bone, and liver problems.

Victims of these side effects are filing lawsuits against Gilead, claiming the company withheld a much safer alternative to TDF to increase profits. They also allege that Gilead did not properly warn patients about TDF’s serious side effects.

Who Can Take Atripla?

Atripla is typically prescribed to HIV-positive adults. However, before taking any medication, a doctor should always be consulted for medical advice.

Atripla Cost

According to Medicaid’s National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) survey, a year’s supply for one person costs pharmacies $32,000.

Even for users with insurance, this high cost translates to higher premiums, making Atripla’s easy one-a-day regimen difficult for many people to access.

Quick Facts

  • Atripla was the first once-a-day HIV drug, allowing for easier treatment.
  • One of Atripla’s components, TDF, may lead to serious health problems like kidney failure and osteoporosis.
  • Many Atripla users have filed lawsuits against HIV drug manufacturers to compensate for health issues they claim could have been avoided.

Atripla Side Effects

Atripla’s many side effects range from mild to serious.

The most common Atripla side effects are:

  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Rash

One of Atripla’s three components, TDF, may badly damage the kidneys and bones — a fact that victims claim Gilead did not properly warn doctors and users about.

Kidney Injuries

  • Acute Kidney Injury (AKI): AKI is the sudden inability of the kidneys to filter the blood. This condition can permanently damage the kidneys or even cause death.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): CKD or renal failure is a steady loss of kidney function. Patients may not realize they have CKD until the condition is advanced. It may lead to end-stage renal disease.
  • End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): ESRD is the final stage of CKD, when the kidneys can no longer filter blood. If patients do not receive dialysis or a kidney transplant, ESRD is fatal.
  • Renal insufficiency/impairment: Renal insufficiency is below-average kidney function, often caused by poor blood flow to the kidneys.

Bone Injuries

  • Osteoporosis: With this condition, bones become so fragile that even actions like sneezing may cause fractures. Other symptoms include loss of height, stooped posture, and back pain.
  • Bone density loss: This occurs when the body fails to replace bone tissue as quickly as it absorbs it. Over time, bone density loss may lead to osteoporosis.
  • Bone breaks/fractures: Bone fractures are painful breaks in the bone that bone density loss.
  • Tooth loss: Bone tissue loss may affect the jawbone, causing teeth to loosen and fall out more easily.

Other Injuries

  • Lactic acidosis: This buildup of lactic acid in the blood can lead to death if not treated quickly.
  • Liver problems: Although rare, Atripla users can develop fatal liver problems.
  • Mental health issues: Atripla may cause severe depression, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, and other mental problems.
  • Worsened hepatitis B (HBV) infections: Patients with HBV who stop taking Atripla are at risk of having HBV infections suddenly return with worse symptoms than before.

Atripla FDA Approval

As the first once-a-day HIV drug, Atripla’s FDA approval on July 12th, 2006, was met with excitement among those with HIV and organizations fighting the disease.

However, the FDA issued warnings about the risk of lactic acidosis, mental health issues, and the drug’s danger to patients with hepatitis B.

Atripla Legal Action

Despite Atripla’s ease of use, its active ingredient, TDF, may cause serious side effects like kidney failure and osteoporosis.

Gilead was already researching a far safer version of tenofovir when it launched its TDF drugs. Because of this and other allegations, those who experienced serious kidney and bone problems may be able to take legal action against Gilead and other HIV drug manufacturers.

Pursuing an Atripla lawsuit can help victims cover medical costs for the side effects they should have never suffered.

If you have experienced serious side effects from Atripla or another HIV drug, you are not helpless to act — and you are not alone.

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  1. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (2018, October). Patient Information Complera. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.gilead.com/-/media/files/pdfs/medicines/hiv/complera/complera_patient_pi.pdf
  2. Rosenberg, T. (2018, September 18). H.I.V. Drugs Cost $75 in Africa, $39,000 in the U.S. Does It Matter? The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/opinion/pricing-hiv-drugs-america.html
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, June 23). Acute kidney failure. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20369048
  4. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, August 15). Chronic kidney disease. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, June 19). Osteoporosis. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968
  6. UC Davis Health Vascular Center. (n.d.). Renal insufficiency. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://health.ucdavis.edu/vascular/diseases/renal_insufficiency.html
  7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2018, November). Oral Health and Bone Disease. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/oral-health/oral-health-and-bone-disease
  8. CBS Interactive Inc. (2006, July 12). One-A-Day HIV Pill Approved. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/one-a-day-hiv-pill-approved/
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