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Etravirine

Other Names: ERT, TMC-125
Manufacturer: Tibotec

What is it?

Etravirine is an FDA approved antiretroviral medication, specifically a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor.  It is used to treat HIV, which is a retrovirus.  Retroviruses use the genetic material in the body’s cells to produce more viruses which can infect other cells.

How does it work?

Etravirine interferes with the life cycle of HIV to stop it from producing more viruses.  Specifically, etravirine ties up the reverse transcriptase enzyme so it cannot build the genetic material needed to make more viruses and infect more cells.

How do I take it?

  • Etravirine is available as 100 mg tablets.
  • The usual dose is 200mg (2 x 100mg tablets) twice a day.
  • It is recommended that etravirine be taken with food.

It is extremely important that you take darunavir and your other antiretroviral medications exactly as directed. You should set up a system that will help you remember to take your medicines so that you do not miss any doses. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and space the remaining doses out over the rest of the day. However, if you skip a dose, do not take two doses at once. Do not stop taking the medication for any reason at any time unless you are directed to do so by your provider. If you are unable to continue taking your medication due to side effects, you should contact your provider immediately.

Special Considerations

  • Etravirine should be stored at controlled room temperature 59° to 86° F (15° or 30° C) in a dry place, out of the reach of children.

Interactions

Some drugs taken together may have interactions that cause illness or impair the effectiveness of the drugs.  Since etravirine is new, studies are being done to determine what interactions there might be with other medications.  It is a good idea to always check with your provider before taking any other medications, prescription or otherwise, to be sure it will not interact with etravirine.

The following medications should not be given together with etravirine:

  • St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Tipranavir
  • HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (ie Lipitor, simvastatin)
  • Phenobarbital
  • antiarrhythmics
  • Astemizole (Hismanal®)
  • Phenytoin
  • Terfenidine
  • Eletriptan
  • Carbamazepine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Ketoconazole
  • Voriconazole
  • Rifampin
  • Warfarin

If you are taking oral contraceptives with etravirine, an alternate form of birth control should be used.

Side Effects

Not everyone experiences side effects.  When they do occur, they may be mild, moderate or severe.  Some side effects cannot be felt by the patient but can be found through laboratory tests, so it is important to see your provider regularly for checkups so that side effects can be detected early and treated.

During the first weeks of therapy with etravirine, the most common side effects of etravirine are diarrhea, headache, nausea, bloating, and sleepiness.  Other possible side effects of etravirine include fatigue, fever, vomiting, skin rash and changes in liver function tests.  If these side effects occur and are severe, last for more than a few days, or seem to be getting worse, you should report them to your provider.

Do not stop taking etravirine if you experience a mild rash without any other symptoms.  However, it is important to immediately notify your provider that you have a rash.

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