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Manufacturer Falsely Touted Truvada as Safe

Home » Manufacturer Falsely Touted Truvada as Safe
August 12, 2019
Edward Smith

Manufacturer Claims Truvada Is Safe

Truvada has been marketed as a preventive measure against HIV since 2012 in individuals who have tested negative for the disease. In 2004, it was introduced as a way to treat the disease in combination with another agent. Since its introduction, it has become known that the drug has significant side effects in some people. In addition, at around the same time that Truvada was introduced, a similar drug was under investigation by the company, Gilead Sciences. Not only was the other drug effective in a lower dose, but it had fewer side effects associated with it. As this information became known, lawsuits based on the company’s failure to warn of side effects and withholding of a safer drug were filed. Let’s explore the drugs in question, the side effects, and the lawsuits that are taking the manufacturer to task. 

What an Injury Lawyer Can Do

If you suffer from an injury due to a drug, it is possible the manufacturer was negligent. In our legal system, the company needs to answer for their mistakes and compensate those who were injured. Drugmakers have a legal obligation to warn consumers about problems associated with a drug and to do everything in their power to avoid any harm to innocent people. When this does not happen, you need the experience and knowledge an attorney can bring to the table.

When you contact our firm, we will speak with you during a free, no-obligation case review to understand your situation. We consult with experts in the field and review medical records pertinent to the case. Once we have accumulated sufficient information, our legal team begins to craft a strong case against an at-fault defendant. It is important to remember that the drug manufacturer will have a legal team of their own. We understand what you are going through and believe no one should be at the mercy of predatory companies. 


This drug stops HIV from replicating in the body by inhibiting a necessary enzyme. It is a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). TDF is marketed under the following names: Truvada, Viread, and Atripla. As a preventive measure against contracting HIV, it is used primarily by sex workers, heterosexual, and homosexual people in a relationship with an infected individual and others who have risky sex. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) was first recognized in the 1980s but needed to be administered intravenously. After buying the rights to TDF, Gilead modified it, so it could be used in a pill form. FDA approval followed in 2001. Truvada received FDA approval in 2004. 

Side Effects of Truvada

Some side effects commonly seen with Truvada are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue and depression
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Liver problems
  • Vivid dreams
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Breathing difficulties

Serious Health Issues

Some side effects are considered to be more serious and include:

  • Lactic acidosis: The body breaks down carbohydrates for energy. This forms lactate. If kidney damage exists, the lactate may not be able to be cleared from the body and builds up. When lactate is made and builds up faster in the blood than it can be cleared, you can go into lactic acidosis, which can cause kidney failure and death. Symptoms associated with this are weakness, vomiting and nausea, and diarrhea. By affecting the pH of the blood, lactic acidosis can lead to other serious problems.
  • Damage to the kidneys: This occurs due to the high doses of TDF that are necessary for the drug to work. Since the kidneys are responsible for removing the drug from the system, it can cause damage to the organs.
  • Decreased density of the bones and osteoporosis: The dosage needed to make TDF effective can cause the bones to weaken. This can lead to fractures and osteoporosis. 

Consumers Not Warned of Side Effects

One of the major problems was that the manufacturer did not fulfill its obligation and warn patients or doctors about the side effects associated with TDF. Knowledge of side effects might cause physicians to hesitate prescribing a drug with serious problems and make patients leery of taking it. This is putting greed above the company’s duty to others. Gilead called TDF safe even though they knew that the side effects existed. 

Withholding a Safer Alternative

At the same time Truvada was approved, Gilead was investigating tenofovir alafenamide or TAF in 2004. Because TAF is readily absorbed, it was not necessary to use high doses to get positive results. However, TDF’s newly approved patent would run for many years before generics (and a lower price) could be marketed, Gilead announced it would not continue developing TAF. Nonetheless, it applied for and received several patents after this announcement. The company later said they may pursue it in the future. In 2010, Truvada’s patent for TDF was about to expire, and Gilead announced the discovery of TAF, a new safer drug. Although this data was known 10 years earlier, Gilead now had a “new” drug in the pipeline to succeed TDF at a high price. 

Damages Recoverable for  TDF/Truvada Patients 

Some of the damages patients who took this drug can recover are:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical care
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering

San Francisco Truvada Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a San Francisco Truvada injury lawyer. If you have been harmed due to taking this medication, you may be able to be compensated for your loss. Call me at (415) 805-7284 in the San Francisco area or at (800) 404-5400 long-distance for free and friendly advice. You can also reach out to me online.  

I’ve helped numerous residents over the past 37 years with traumatic brain injury, wrongful death, and other serious injuries

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