If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already familiar with PReP. It’s one of the most widely prescribed anti-HIV medications on the global market. But there are risks to taking PReP (also known as Truvada) that could seriously affect kidney function or cause bone damage.
If you have been injured by this medication, you are not alone. Many people around the country are actively filing Truvada and PReP lawsuits. Click here to read more to learn about the danger behind the HIV medication and how the lawyers at Johnson//Becker can help you or your loved ones.
Truvada is manufactured by biotech company, Gilead Sciences. The company’s primary line of pharmaceuticals are antiviral medications such as Truvada, Stribild, Complera, Atripla, and Viread. In 2018 alone, the company made over $14 billion in profits.
In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration approved Gilead to sell tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (or TDF) under the brand name Vireal. TDF is known as a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) and helps combat the HIV enzyme from multiplying in the body.
It can be used to treat those who have been diagnosed with HIV and Hepatitis B; as well a preventative for those who may have intimate contact with someone HIV-positive.
Truvada is one of the combination medications Gilead began manufacturing after the success of Viread. In 2004, Truvada (which is a combination of emtricitabine and TDF) was approved by the FDA.
Despite the wide success of HIV medications that allow patients to live more rewarding lives, there may be a case of “profits over patients” with Truvada.
Gilead has been accused of misleading consumers about the safety of TDF medications, as well as preventing another, safer medication from being approved for use in the US market. We’ll get into that later, but first let’s start with the health complications that have been linked to Truvada.
Truvada Side Effects
The side effects of Truvada can be detrimental to your health. Considering it is used as a daily medication, it’s imperative folks know the potential side effects they may be up against, or have already experienced.
According to AIDS Info, liver problems are associated with TDF medications. They can appear as:
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored bowel movements
- Loss of appetite for several days or longer
- Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
- Pain in the stomach area (abdominal pain)
TDF may also cause lactic acidosis, a buildup of lactic acid in the blood. If left untreated, lactic acidosis can be fatal. The warning signs may include:
- Weakness or tiredness
- Unusual muscle pain
- Shortness of breath or fast breathing
- Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
- Hands or feet that feel cold or turn blue
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fast or abnormal heartbeat
Additional side effects from medications containing TDF are:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Declining kidney function
- Acute kidney injury
- Acute renal failure
- Fanconi syndrome
- Kidney failure
- Decreased bone mineral density
- Osteopenia (softening, or thinning of the bones)
- Bone fractures
- Dental problems
- Tooth loss or decay
It’s very important to take your medication as prescribed. It is possible to have a flare-up of HIV if you stop taking your medication as prescribed. Even if you’re reading this and know you have been seriously affected by any one of these HIV medications, it’s important you speak with your physician before you stop taking TDF medications.
TDF Studies and TAF
Multiple studies have pointed to the likelihood of kidney damage and bone loss from long-term TDF use. For a comprehensive list of those studies, please visit our TDF Lawsuit page here.
Gilead has been accused of withholding a safer, alternative medication similar to TDF medications, in order to continue profiting from TDF sales. There are scores of people who have filed a class action lawsuit against Gilead Sciences Inc. claiming the company knew TDF was ‘…highly toxic in the doses prescribed and risked permanent and possibly fatal damage to the kidneys and bones.”
TAF is a medication Gilead Sciences was already working on shortly after the release of Viread. The company found it didn’t have nearly the amount of complicated side effects as TDF. Doctors around the country prescribed TAF to HIV patients in studies conducted by Gilead. It was useful, for a time.
However, Gilead abruptly ended the studies and shelved TAF. It wasn’t until the nearing of its patent for TDF that Gilead reemerged with TAF in the form of Genvoya, approved by the FDA in 2015.
As far back as the early 2000s, Gilead knew TAF was safer but it continued to put TDF on the market with a monopoly of TDF-containing medications released every couple of years (Stribild, Complera, Atripla).
Gilead knew the dangers of TDF, plain and simple. Even more concerning is how many people have been affected by their deceitful practice of putting profits over the safety of others.
Michael Lujano is one of the plaintiffs in a [separate] personal injury suit against Gilead. His anger and disappointment at how the company conducted business at the hands of hurting HIV patients echoes the sentiments of everyone who has suffered kidney and bone damage:
“Gilead shelved a far safer drug, TAF, simply to increase its long term profits. I’m bringing this lawsuit to try to hold Gilead responsible for their reckless focus on profits over patient safety,” he said.
Click here to read more about the TDF lawsuit.