Descovy (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed to treat or help prevent HIV in certain adults and children. Descovy comes as an oral tablet that you typically take once per day. The dosage can vary depending on whether you take the drug to treat or help prevent HIV.
Descovy belongs to a drug class called antiretrovirals. Descovy is not available in a generic version.
Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Descovy, including its strengths and how to take the medication. For a comprehensive look at Descovy, including details about its uses, see this article.
Note: This article describes typical dosages for Descovy provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Descovy, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.
The typical dosages of Descovy and other details about the drug are described below.
Descovy comes as an oral tablet.
Descovy comes in two strengths:
- 120 milligrams (mg) emtricitabine/15 mg tenofovir alafenamide
- 200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide
The following information describes dosages that are commonly prescribed or recommended in adults. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for PrEP
As pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), doctors prescribe Descovy to adults who weigh at least 35 kilograms (kg), or about 77 pounds (lb). (For reference, 1 kg is about 2.2 lb.) The recommended dosage is 200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide once per day.
Dosage for treating HIV
For treating HIV, doctors prescribe Descovy to adults who weigh at least 35 kg (about 77 lb). The recommended dosage is 200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide once per day.
Note: For treating HIV, doctors prescribe Descovy in combination with other HIV medications.
Below is information about children’s dosages of Descovy.
Dosage for PrEP
As PrEP, doctors prescribe Descovy to adolescents ages 12 years and older who weigh at least 35 kg (about 77 lb). The recommended dosage is 200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide once per day.
Dosage for treating HIV
Doctors prescribe Descovy to treat HIV in children who weigh at least 14 kg (about 31 lb). The recommended Descovy dosage in children is based on body weight in kg as follows:
- For children who weigh 25 kg (about 55 lb) or more: 200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide once per day
- For children who weigh 14 kg to less than 25 kg (about 31 lb to less than 55 lb): 120 mg emtricitabine/15 mg tenofovir alafenamide once per day
If your child’s doctor recommends Descovy, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for your child.
Note: For treating HIV in children, doctors prescribe Descovy in combination with other HIV medications.
Descovy is meant to be taken as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Descovy is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about what to expect with Descovy treatment.
This section includes answers to some frequently asked questions.
How does the dosage of Descovy compare with the dosage of Truvada?
The dosage of Descovy is similar to the dosage of Truvada. These medications have similar active ingredients and uses. Descovy comes in two strengths, and Truvada comes in four strengths. However, both medications are taken once per day for their approved uses.
For the recommended dosages of Descovy, see the “Descovy dosage” section above. For Truvada’s recommended dosages, you can refer to this article.
If you’d like to know more about how Descovy and Truvada dosages compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also read this article comparing Truvada to Descovy.
Will older adults taking Descovy need a dosage adjustment?
No, there’s no dosage adjustment in older adults (ages 65 years and older). In clinical trials, there was no difference in how safe and effective Descovy was for older adults compared to younger adults. So, the recommended dose of Descovy is the same in older adults as for other adults.
Talk with your doctor if you’d like more information about Descovy use in older adults.
The Descovy dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- whether you’re taking Descovy to treat or help prevent HIV
- your age
- your body weight
If you have questions about your Descovy dosage, talk with your doctor.
Descovy is a tablet that you’ll swallow, with or without food. You should try to take Descovy at the same time each day. This helps maintain a steady level of the drug in your body so Descovy can work effectively.
You’ll take Descovy every day, whether your doctor prescribes it for HIV treatment or prevention.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS
Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.
If you’re having trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist about putting Descovy in an easy-open container. They also may recommend tools that can make it easier to open bottles.
If you miss a dose of Descovy, you should take it as soon as you remember. However, do not take more than one tablet per day to make up for a missed dose. If it’s close to when you usually take your next dose, skip the missed dose. Then take your next dose at the time you typically do.
If you’re unsure whether to take or skip a missed dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your bathroom mirror or bedside table. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
It’s important that you do not take more Descovy than your doctor prescribes. For some medications, taking more than the recommended amount may lead to side effects or overdose. To learn about the side effects of Descovy, you can refer to this article.
If you take more than the recommended amount of Descovy
Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Descovy. Another option is to call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Descovy for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
As with any drug, never change your dosage of Descovy without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Descovy that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.
Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Descovy. These additional articles might be helpful:
- More about Descovy. For information about other aspects of Descovy, refer to this article.
- Side effects. To learn about the side effects of Descovy, see this article. You can also look at the Descovy prescribing information.
- Cost. For information about cost and Descovy, refer to this article.
- Drug comparison. Find out how Descovy compares with Truvada and Biktarvy.
- Interactions. For details about what Descovy interacts with, see this article.
- How Descovy works. To learn how Descovy works to help prevent HIV, view this article.
- Details about HIV. For details about HIV, see our HIV and AIDS hub.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.