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Atripla (Efavirenz / Emtricitabine / Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate) - Warnings and Precautions



Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogs, including tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, a component of ATRIPLA, in combination with other antiretrovirals [See Warnings and Precautions].

ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and the safety and efficacy of ATRIPLA have not been established in patients coinfected with HBV and HIV-1. Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis B have been reported in patients who have discontinued EMTRIVA or VIREAD, which are components of ATRIPLA. Hepatic function should be monitored closely with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months in patients who are coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV and discontinue ATRIPLA. If appropriate, initiation of anti-hepatitis B therapy may be warranted [See Warnings and Precautions] .



Lactic Acidosis/Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis

Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogs including tenofovir DF, a component of ATRIPLA, in combination with other antiretrovirals. A majority of these cases have been in women. Obesity and prolonged nucleoside exposure may be risk factors. Particular caution should be exercised when administering nucleoside analogs to any patient with known risk factors for liver disease; however, cases have also been reported in patients with no known risk factors. Treatment with ATRIPLA should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity (which may include hepatomegaly and steatosis even in the absence of marked transaminase elevations).

Patients Coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV

It is recommended that all patients with HIV-1 be tested for the presence of chronic HBV before initiating antiretroviral therapy. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of chronic HBV infection, and the safety and efficacy of ATRIPLA have not been established in patients coinfected with HBV and HIV-1. Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis B have been reported in patients who are coinfected with HBV and HIV-1 and have discontinued emtricitabine or tenofovir DF, two of the components of ATRIPLA. In some patients infected with HBV and treated with emtricitabine, the exacerbations of hepatitis B were associated with liver decompensation and liver failure. Patients who are coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV should be closely monitored with both clinical and laboratory follow up for at least several months after stopping treatment with ATRIPLA. If appropriate, initiation of anti-hepatitis B therapy may be warranted.

ATRIPLA should not be administered with HEPSERA® (adefovir dipivoxil) [See Drug Interactions].

Drug Interactions

Efavirenz plasma concentrations may be altered by substrates, inhibitors, or inducers of CYP3A. Likewise, efavirenz may alter plasma concentrations of drugs metabolized by CYP3A or CYP2B6 [See Contraindications, Drug Interactions].

Coadministration with Related Products

Related drugs not for coadministration with ATRIPLA include COMPLERA® (emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir DF), EMTRIVA® (emtricitabine), STRIBILD® (elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir DF), TRUVADA® (emtricitabine/tenofovir DF), and VIREAD® (tenofovir DF), which contain the same active components as ATRIPLA. SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) should not be coadministered with ATRIPLA unless needed for dose-adjustment (e.g. with rifampin) [See Dosage and Administration (2), Drug Interactions]. Due to similarities between emtricitabine and lamivudine, ATRIPLA should not be coadministered with drugs containing lamivudine, including Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine), Epivir, or Epivir-HBV (lamivudine), Epzicom (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine), or Trizivir (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine).

Psychiatric Symptoms

Serious psychiatric adverse experiences have been reported in patients treated with efavirenz. In controlled trials of 1008 subjects treated with regimens containing efavirenz for a mean of 2.1 years and 635 subjects treated with control regimens for a mean of 1.5 years, the frequency (regardless of causality) of specific serious psychiatric events among subjects who received efavirenz or control regimens, respectively, were: severe depression (2.4%, 0.9%), suicidal ideation (0.7%, 0.3%), nonfatal suicide attempts (0.5%, 0%), aggressive behavior (0.4%, 0.5%), paranoid reactions (0.4%, 0.3%), and manic reactions (0.2%, 0.3%). When psychiatric symptoms similar to those noted above were combined and evaluated as a group in a multifactorial analysis of data from Study AI266006 treatment with efavirenz was associated with an increase in the occurrence of these selected psychiatric symptoms. Other factors associated with an increase in the occurrence of these psychiatric symptoms were history of injection drug use, psychiatric history, and receipt of psychiatric medication at trial entry; similar associations were observed in both the efavirenz and control treatment groups. In Study 006, onset of new serious psychiatric symptoms occurred throughout the trial for both efavirenz-treated and control-treated subjects. One percent of efavirenz-treated subjects discontinued or interrupted treatment because of one or more of these selected psychiatric symptoms. There have also been occasional postmarketing reports of death by suicide, delusions, and psychosis-like behavior, although a causal relationship to the use of efavirenz cannot be determined from these reports. Patients with serious psychiatric adverse experiences should seek immediate medical evaluation to assess the possibility that the symptoms may be related to the use of efavirenz, and if so, to determine whether the risks of continued therapy outweigh the benefits [See Adverse Reactions (6) ].

Nervous System Symptoms

Fifty-three percent (531/1008) of subjects receiving efavirenz in controlled trials reported central nervous system symptoms (any grade, regardless of causality) compared to 25% (156/635) of subjects receiving control regimens. These symptoms included dizziness (28.1% of the 1008 subjects), insomnia (16.3%), impaired concentration (8.3%), somnolence (7.0%), abnormal dreams (6.2%), and hallucinations (1.2%). Other reported symptoms were euphoria, confusion, agitation, amnesia, stupor, abnormal thinking, and depersonalization. The majority of these symptoms were mild-moderate (50.7%); symptoms were severe in 2.0% of subjects. Overall, 2.1% of subjects discontinued therapy as a result. These symptoms usually begin during the first or second day of therapy and generally resolve after the first 2–4 weeks of therapy. After 4 weeks of therapy, the prevalence of nervous system symptoms of at least moderate severity ranged from 5% to 9% in subjects treated with regimens containing efavirenz and from 3% to 5% in subjects treated with a control regimen. Patients should be informed that these common symptoms were likely to improve with continued therapy and were not predictive of subsequent onset of the less frequent psychiatric symptoms [See Warnings and Precautions]. Dosing at bedtime may improve the tolerability of these nervous system symptoms [See Dosage and Administration (2) ].

Analysis of long-term data from Study 006, (median follow-up 180 weeks, 102 weeks, and 76 weeks for subjects treated with efavirenz + zidovudine + lamivudine, efavirenz + indinavir, and indinavir + zidovudine + lamivudine, respectively) showed that, beyond 24 weeks of therapy, the incidences of new-onset nervous system symptoms among efavirenz-treated subjects were generally similar to those in the indinavir-containing control arm.

Patients receiving ATRIPLA should be alerted to the potential for additive central nervous system effects when ATRIPLA is used concomitantly with alcohol or psychoactive drugs.

Patients who experience central nervous system symptoms such as dizziness, impaired concentration, and/or drowsiness should avoid potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating machinery.

New Onset or Worsening Renal Impairment

Emtricitabine and tenofovir are principally eliminated by the kidney; however, efavirenz is not. Since ATRIPLA is a combination product and the dose of the individual components cannot be altered, patients with creatinine clearance below 50 mL/min should not receive ATRIPLA.

Renal impairment, including cases of acute renal failure and Fanconi syndrome (renal tubular injury with severe hypophosphatemia), has been reported with the use of tenofovir DF [See Adverse Reactions].

It is recommended that creatinine clearance be calculated in all patients prior to initiating therapy and as clinically appropriate during therapy with ATRIPLA. Routine monitoring of calculated creatinine clearance and serum phosphorus should be performed in patients at risk for renal impairment, including patients who have previously experienced renal events while receiving HEPSERA.

ATRIPLA should be avoided with concurrent or recent use of a nephrotoxic agent.

Reproductive Risk Potential

Pregnancy Category D: Efavirenz may cause fetal harm when administered during the first trimester to a pregnant woman. Pregnancy should be avoided in women receiving ATRIPLA. Barrier contraception must always be used in combination with other methods of contraception (e.g., oral or other hormonal contraceptives). Because of the long half-life of efavirenz, use of adequate contraceptive measures for 12 weeks after discontinuation of ATRIPLA is recommended. Women of childbearing potential should undergo pregnancy testing before initiation of ATRIPLA. If this drug is used during the first trimester of pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential harm to the fetus.

There are no adequate and well-controlled trials of ATRIPLA in pregnant women. ATRIPLA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, such as in pregnant women without other therapeutic options [See Use in Specific Populations].


In controlled clinical trials, 26% (266/1008) of subjects treated with 600 mg efavirenz experienced new-onset skin rash compared with 17% (111/635) of subjects treated in control groups. Rash associated with blistering, moist desquamation, or ulceration occurred in 0.9% (9/1008) of subjects treated with efavirenz. The incidence of Grade 4 rash (e.g., erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome) in subjects treated with efavirenz in all trials and expanded access was 0.1%. Rashes are usually mild-to-moderate maculopapular skin eruptions that occur within the first 2 weeks of initiating therapy with efavirenz (median time to onset of rash in adults was 11 days) and, in most subjects continuing therapy with efavirenz, rash resolves within 1 month (median duration, 16 days). The discontinuation rate for rash in clinical trials was 1.7% (17/1008). ATRIPLA can be reinitiated in patients interrupting therapy because of rash. ATRIPLA should be discontinued in patients developing severe rash associated with blistering, desquamation, mucosal involvement, or fever. Appropriate antihistamines and/or corticosteroids may improve the tolerability and hasten the resolution of rash. For patients who have had a life-threatening cutaneous reaction (eg, Stevens-Johnson syndrome), alternative therapy should be considered [See also Contraindications].

Experience with efavirenz in subjects who discontinued other antiretroviral agents of the NNRTI class is limited. Nineteen subjects who discontinued nevirapine because of rash have been treated with efavirenz. Nine of these subjects developed mild-to-moderate rash while receiving therapy with efavirenz, and two of these subjects discontinued because of rash.

Rash was reported in 26 of 57 pediatric subjects (46%) treated with efavirenz [See Adverse Reactions]. One pediatric subject experienced Grade 3 rash (confluent rash with fever), and two subjects had Grade 4 rash (erythema multiforme). The median time to onset of rash in pediatric subjects was 8 days. Prophylaxis with appropriate antihistamines before initiating therapy with ATRIPLA in pediatric patients should be considered.


Monitoring of liver enzymes before and during treatment is recommended for patients with underlying hepatic disease, including hepatitis B or C infection; patients with marked transaminase elevations; and patients treated with other medications associated with liver toxicity [See also Warnings and Precautions]. A few of the postmarketing reports of hepatic failure occurred in patients with no pre-existing hepatic disease or other identifiable risk factors [See Adverse Reactions]. Liver enzyme monitoring should also be considered for patients without pre-existing hepatic dysfunction or other risk factors. In patients with persistent elevations of serum transaminases to greater than five times the upper limit of the normal range, the benefit of continued therapy with ATRIPLA needs to be weighed against the unknown risks of significant liver toxicity [See Adverse Reactions].

Decreases in Bone Mineral Density

Assessment of bone mineral density (BMD) should be considered for patients who have a history of pathologic bone fracture or other risk factors for osteoporosis or bone loss. Although the effect of supplementation with calcium and vitamin D was not studied, such supplementation may be beneficial for all patients. If bone abnormalities are suspected then appropriate consultation should be obtained.

In a 144-week trial of treatment-naive adult subjects receiving tenofovir DF, decreases in BMD were seen at the lumbar spine and hip in both arms of the trial. At Week 144, there was a significantly greater mean percentage decrease from baseline in BMD at the lumbar spine in subjects receiving tenofovir DF + lamivudine + efavirenz compared with subjects receiving stavudine + lamivudine + efavirenz. Changes in BMD at the hip were similar between the two treatment groups. In both groups, the majority of the reduction in BMD occurred in the first 24–48 weeks of the trial and this reduction was sustained through 144 weeks. Twenty-eight percent of tenofovir DF-treated subjects vs. 21% of the comparator subjects lost at least 5% of BMD at the spine or 7% of BMD at the hip. Clinically relevant fractures (excluding fingers and toes) were reported in 4 subjects in the tenofovir DF group and 6 subjects in the comparator group. Tenofovir DF was associated with significant increases in biochemical markers of bone metabolism (serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, serum osteocalcin, serum C-telopeptide, and urinary N-telopeptide), suggesting increased bone turnover. Serum parathyroid hormone levels and 1,25 Vitamin D levels were also higher in subjects receiving tenofovir DF.

In a clinical trial of HIV-1 infected pediatric subjects 12 years of age and older (Study 321), bone effects were similar to adult subjects. Under normal circumstances BMD increases rapidly in this age group. In this trial, the mean rate of bone gain was less in the tenofovir DF-treated group compared to the placebo group. Six tenofovir DF-treated subjects and one placebo-treated subject had significant (greater than 4%) lumbar spine BMD loss at 48 weeks. Among 28 subjects receiving 96 weeks of tenofovir DF, Z-scores declined by -0.341 for lumbar spine and -0.458 for total body. Skeletal growth (height) appeared to be unaffected. Markers of bone turnover in tenofovir DF-treated pediatric subjects 12 years of age and older suggest increased bone turnover, consistent with the effects observed in adults.

The effects of tenofovir DF-associated changes in BMD and biochemical markers on long-term bone health and future fracture risk are unknown. For additional information, consult the VIREAD prescribing information.

Cases of osteomalacia (associated with proximal renal tubulopathy and which may contribute to fractures) have been reported in association with the use of tenofovir DF [See Adverse Reactions].


Convulsions have been observed in patients receiving efavirenz, generally in the presence of known medical history of seizures. Caution must be taken in any patient with a history of seizures.

Patients who are receiving concomitant anticonvulsant medications primarily metabolized by the liver, such as phenytoin and phenobarbital, may require periodic monitoring of plasma levels [See Drug Interactions].

Immune Reconstitution Syndrome

Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including the components of ATRIPLA. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections [such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), or tuberculosis], which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.

Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution, however, the time to onset is more variable, and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.

Fat Redistribution

Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and "cushingoid appearance" have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.



Pregnancy Category D [See Warnings and Precautions]

Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry: To monitor fetal outcomes of pregnant women, an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has been established. Physicians are encouraged to register patients who become pregnant by calling 258-4263.

Efavirenz: As of July 2010, the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has received prospective reports of 792 pregnancies exposed to efavirenz-containing regimens, nearly all of which were first-trimester exposures (718 pregnancies). Birth defects occurred in 17 of 604 live births (first-trimester exposure) and 2 of 69 live births (second/third-trimester exposure). One of these prospectively reported defects with first-trimester exposure was a neural tube defect. A single case of anophthalmia with first-trimester exposure to efavirenz has also been prospectively reported; however, this case included severe oblique facial clefts and amniotic banding, a known association with anophthalmia. There have been six retrospective reports of findings consistent with neural tube defects, including meningomyelocele. All mothers were exposed to efavirenz-containing regimens in the first trimester. Although a causal relationship of these events to the use of efavirenz has not been established, similar defects have been observed in preclinical studies of efavirenz.

Animal Data

Effects of efavirenz on embryo-fetal development have been studied in three nonclinical species (cynomolgus monkeys, rats, and rabbits). In monkeys, efavirenz 60 mg/kg/day was administered to pregnant females throughout pregnancy (gestation days 20 through 150). The maternal systemic drug exposures (AUC) were 1.3 times the exposure in humans at the recommended clinical dose (600 mg/day), with fetal umbilical venous drug concentrations approximately 0.7 times the maternal values. Three fetuses of 20 fetuses/infants had one or more malformations; there were no malformed fetuses or infants from placebo-treated mothers. The malformations that occurred in these three monkey fetuses included anencephaly and unilateral anophthalmia in one fetus, microophthalmia in a second, and cleft palate in the third. There was no NOAEL (no observable adverse effect level) established for this study because only one dosage was evaluated. In rats, efavirenz was administered either during organogenesis (gestation days 7 to 18) or from gestation day 7 through lactation day 21 at 50, 100, or 200 mg/kg/day. Administration of 200 mg/kg/day in rats was associated with increase in the incidence of early resorptions; and doses 100 mg/kg/day and greater were associated with early neonatal mortality. The AUC at the NOAEL (50 mg/kg/day) in this rat study was 0.1 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose. Drug concentrations in the milk on lactation day 10 were approximately 8 times higher than those in maternal plasma. In pregnant rabbits, efavirenz was neither embryo lethal nor teratogenic when administered at doses of 25, 50, and 75 mg/kg/day over the period of organogenesis (gestation days 6 through 18). The AUC at the NOAEL (75 mg/kg/day) in rabbits was 0.4 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose.

Nursing Mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1 infected mothers not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1. Studies in rats have demonstrated that efavirenz is secreted in milk. Studies in humans have shown that both tenofovir and emtricitabine are excreted in human milk. Because the risks of low level exposure to emtricitabine and tenofovir to infants are unknown, and because of the potential for HIV-1 transmission, mothers should be instructed not to breastfeed if they are receiving ATRIPLA.


Samples of breast milk obtained from five HIV-1 infected mothers show that emtricitabine is secreted in human milk. Breastfeeding infants whose mothers are being treated with emtricitabine may be at risk for developing viral resistance to emtricitabine. Other emtricitabine-associated risks in infants breastfed by mothers being treated with emtricitabine are unknown.

Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate

Samples of breast milk obtained from five HIV-1 infected mothers show that tenofovir is secreted in human milk. Tenofovir-associated risks, including the risk of viral resistance to tenofovir, in infants breastfed by mothers being treated with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate are unknown.

Pediatric Use

ATRIPLA should only be administered to pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with a body weight greater than or equal to 40 kg (greater than or equal to 88 lbs). Because ATRIPLA is a fixed-dose combination tablet, the dose adjustments recommended for pediatric patients younger than 12 years of age for each individual component cannot be made with ATRIPLA [See Warnings and Precautions (5.9, 5.11), Adverse Reactions and Clinical Pharmacology].

Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of efavirenz, emtricitabine, or tenofovir DF did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for the elderly patients should be cautious, keeping in mind the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Hepatic Impairment

ATRIPLA is not recommended for patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment because there are insufficient data to determine an appropriate dose. Patients with mild hepatic impairment may be treated with ATRIPLA at the approved dose. Because of the extensive cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of efavirenz and limited clinical experience in patients with hepatic impairment, caution should be exercised in administering ATRIPLA to these patients [See Warnings and Precautions and Clinical Pharmacology].

Renal Impairment

Because ATRIPLA is a fixed-dose combination, it should not be prescribed for patients requiring dosage adjustment such as those with moderate or severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance below 50 mL/min) [See Warnings and Precautions].

Page last updated: 2013-05-03

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