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Systematic (IUPAC) name
4-amino-5-fluoro-1- [2-(hydroxymethyl)- 1,3-oxathiolan-5-yl]- pyrimidin-2-one
CAS number 143491-57-0
ATC code J05AF09
PubChem 60877
DrugBank APRD00226
Chemical data
Formula C8H10FN3O3S 
Mol. mass 247.248 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 93%
Protein binding Very low (less than 4%)
Metabolism Hepatic oxidation and glucuronidation
CYP system not involved
Half life 10 hours
Excretion Renal (86%) and fecal (14%)
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.

B1(AU) B(US)

Legal status

POM(UK) -only(US)

Routes Oral

Emtricitabine (FTC), with trade name Emtriva® (formerly Coviracil), is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults.

Emtricitabine is also marketed in a fixed-dose combination with tenofovir (Viread®) under the brand name Truvada®. A fixed-dose triple combination of emtricitabine, tenofovir and efavirenz (Sustiva®, marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb) was approved by the FDA on July 12, 2006 under the brand name Atripla®.



Emtricitabine was discovered by Dr. Dennis C. Liotta, Dr. Raymond Schinazi and Dr. Woo-Baeg Choi of Emory University and licensed to Triangle Pharmaceuticals by Emory in 1996.[1] Triangle Pharmaceuticals was acquired in 2003 by Gilead Sciences, who completed development and now market the product with the brand name Emtriva®.

It was approved by the FDA July 2, 2003. It is very similar to 3TC and cross-resistance between the two is near-universal.

Mode of action

Emtricitabine is an analogue of cytidine. The drug works by inhibiting reverse transcriptase, the enzyme that copies HIV RNA into new viral DNA. By interfering with this process, which is central to the replication of HIV, emtricitabine can help to lower the amount of HIV, or "viral load", in a patient's body and can indirectly increase the number of immune system cells (called T cells or CD4+ T-cells). Both of these changes are associated with healthier immune systems and decreased likelihood of serious illness.


Emtricitabine is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV infection in adults. This indication is based on the analyses of plasma HIV RNA levels and CD4 cell counts in two Phase III clinical trials of Emtriva of 48 weeks duration.

It is not indicated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection and the safety and efficacy of emtricitabine have not been established in patients co-infected with HBV and HIV. Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis B have been reported in patients after the discontinuation of emtricitabine. The drug is however being evaluated as a potential treatment for chronic hepatitis B. These studies are ongoing.


In clinical practice, toxicity with emtricitabine is unusual. The most common treatment-related adverse events are diarrhea, headache, nausea, and rash. These symptoms are generally mild to moderate in severity, but they caused 1% of clinical trial patients to give up treatment. Skin discoloration, which is typically reported as hyperpigmentation and usually affects either the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, is reported in under 2% of individuals and is almost exclusive to patients of African origin.

Among the more severe side-effects patients may experience are a hepatotoxicity or a lactic acidosis.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Emtricitabine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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