Biktarvy (bictegravir / emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide)

Medically Reviewed By Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCP

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Stopping Biktarvy may lead to worsened hepatitis B in people who have both HIV and the hepatitis B virus (HBV). (This is the virus that causes hepatitis B, which affects the liver.) Worsened hepatitis B can lead to other liver problems, including liver failure. Before starting Biktarvy, your doctor will likely test you for HBV.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before you stop taking Biktarvy. If you have HBV and your doctor feels it’s safe for you to stop Biktarvy, they’ll likely monitor you with tests. These tests, called liver function tests, check how well your liver is working. Your doctor may give you these tests for several months after stopping treatment.

If you have worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy, your doctor may prescribe treatment for the condition.

About Biktarvy

Biktarvy is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat HIV.

For this use, doctors can prescribe Biktarvy for adults and children who weigh at least 14 kilograms (kg), which is about 31 pounds (lb). (One kg is about 2.2 lb.)

Biktarvy is prescribed to treat HIV in certain situations. Specifically, it can be used in people who either:

  • haven’t received HIV treatments in the past, or
  • are replacing their current HIV treatment and meet certain criteria

For more information about how the drug is used, see the “Biktarvy: Uses” section below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Biktarvy.

Active drugs bictegravir/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide
Drug class antiretroviral
Form oral tablet

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Biktarvy: Generic

Biktarvy contains the active drugs bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide. It only comes as a brand-name medication. And it isn’t currently available as a generic drug.

Generics are an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication. Generics typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

Biktarvy: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Biktarvy. These can include some mild side effects, but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Biktarvy’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Biktarvy, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Biktarvy are listed in the table below. This table does not include all of Biktarvy’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects* Serious side effects
fatigue • immune reconstitution syndrome (a sudden overactive response by your immune system), which can lead to infection
• headache • kidney problems, such as kidney failure
• dizziness • liver problems,† which may lead to lactic acidosis (dangerous buildup of lactic acid in your body)
• digestive problems, such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, indigestion, gas, and abdominal pain depression
• sleep problems, such as insomnia or abnormal dreams • worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy‡
• rash allergic reaction

* This is not a complete list of Biktarvy’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or, you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Biktarvy’s side effects explained” below.
Biktarvy has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see “Biktarvy’s side effects explained” below.

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects don’t go away or become severe.

Serious side effects from Biktarvy aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Biktarvy’s side effects explained

Below, you can find detailed information about some of Biktarvy’s side effects. To learn more about other side effects of this medication, talk with your doctor. 

Worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy

Stopping Biktarvy may lead to worsened hepatitis B in people who have both HIV and the hepatitis B virus (HBV). (This is the virus that causes hepatitis B, which affects the liver.)

In fact, Biktarvy has a boxed warning for this risk. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

It isn’t known how many people who stopped taking Biktarvy in clinical studies may have had worsened hepatitis B.

Worsened hepatitis B can lead to other liver problems, including liver failure. For symptoms and other details about liver problems with Biktarvy, see “Liver problems” directly below.

Due to this risk, your doctor will likely test you for HBV before you start taking Biktarvy. It’s also important that you talk with your doctor before you stop taking Biktarvy.

If you have HBV and your doctor feels it’s safe to stop taking Biktarvy, they’ll likely monitor you with tests. These tests, called liver function tests, check how well your liver is working. Your doctor may give you these tests for several months after stopping treatment.

If you have worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy, your doctor may prescribe you treatment for the condition. If you’re concerned about worsening hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy, talk with your doctor.

Liver problems

Liver problems may occur with Biktarvy. This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies of the drug.

However, liver problems have been reported with emtricitabine, one of the active drugs in Biktarvy. (Biktarvy contains the active drugs bictegravir, emtricitabine, and /tenofovir alafenamide.)

Additionally, liver problems can happen because of worsened hepatitis B, which is a possible serious side effect of Biktarvy. For more information, see “Worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy” directly above.

Symptoms of liver problems may include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • jaundice
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • urine or stools that are darker than usual

In rare cases, liver problems can lead to lactic acidosis (dangerous buildup of lactic acid in your body). This condition can be fatal if it isn’t treated.

If you have symptoms of liver problems with Biktarvy, tell your doctor right away. If your symptoms seem life threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Before you start taking Biktarvy, your doctor may order liver function tests. If you’re found to have severe liver problems, your doctor may prescribe a drug other than Biktarvy for you.

Depression

Depression is a rare side effect of Biktarvy. To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • sleeping more or less than usual
  • mood changes
  • loss of appetite
  • weight changes

Depression can also lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, although these were rare in Biktarvy’s clinical studies. Your risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors may be higher if you already have depression or another mental health condition.

If you have symptoms of depression with Biktarvy, talk with your doctor. However, if you have thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Biktarvy. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Although allergic reaction wasn’t reported in clinical studies of Biktarvy, it can still happen.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Biktarvy, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because  the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Biktarvy: Cost

Like other medications, prices for Biktarvy may vary. The drug’s price, including the cost per pill, will depend on factors such as:

To learn about Biktarvy’s cost with insurance, ask your pharmacist.

Cost considerations for Biktarvy

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Biktarvy.

  • Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Biktarvy is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Biktarvy. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Biktarvy, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Biktarvy is available. Gilead Sciences Inc., the manufacturer of the drug, offers a program called Gilead Advancing Access. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, call 800-226-2056 or visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Use of a specialty pharmacy. Based on your insurance plan, you may have to get Biktarvy from a specialty pharmacy. These pharmacies are authorized to handle certain drugs that are considered specialty medications. These medications may be expensive or require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively. If your insurance requires using a specialty pharmacy for Biktarvy, ask your doctor which pharmacy they’ll send your prescription to.
  • Use of a mail-order pharmacy. Biktarvy may be dispensed through mail-order pharmacies. Getting your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy could lower its cost. It can also allow you to get the drug without leaving home. To find out more about this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Availability of a generic form. Biktarvy doesn’t come in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Typically, generics cost less than brand-name drugs.

Questions you may have about Biktarvy

Here are some common questions about Biktarvy and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Are reviews available from people who’ve taken Biktarvy?

Yes, the manufacturer of Biktarvy has stories on its website from people who’ve taken the drug.

Keep in mind that everyone who takes Biktarvy may respond differently to it. Someone else’s experience with this treatment may not reflect your experience.

For more information about what to expect while taking Biktarvy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Biktarvy used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)?

Most likely, no. Biktarvy is not approved for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Both PrEP and PEP involve the use of an antiretroviral drug to help prevent HIV. (Antiretrovirals are the type of HIV drug that Biktarvy is.) However, Biktarvy treats HIV in people who already have the condition.

PrEP is typically used long term and before exposure to HIV. PEP is typically used short term and after exposure to HIV.

Only three medications are currently FDA-approved for PrEP. These include:

  • emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada)
  • emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (Descovy)
  • cabotegravir (Apretude)

For PEP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using Truvada in combination with certain other HIV drugs. This includes dolutegravir and raltegravir (Isentress).

No other medications are currently recommended for PrEP or PEP. It isn’t known if Biktarvy is effective for these uses, so the drug isn’t likely to be used off-label for PrEP or PEP. (With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.)

If you’d like to know more about PrEP or PEP, talk with your doctor.

Is Biktarvy an immunosuppressant?

No, Biktarvy is not an immunosuppressant. Immunosuppressants work by weakening the activity of your immune system.

Instead, Biktarvy belongs to a drug class called antiretrovirals. It works to treat HIV by stopping the virus from making copies of itself. For details about this, see “Biktarvy: How it works” below.

Does Biktarvy cause weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, or acne?

No, Biktarvy isn’t known to cause weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, or acne. These side effects weren’t reported in clinical studies of the drug.

Weight loss, hair loss, and skin problems other than acne are symptoms of HIV. If you have these symptoms while taking Biktarvy, talk with your doctor. They may order tests to make sure the drug is working to treat your condition.

Because HIV can cause weight loss, you may gain weight after starting an HIV treatment such as Biktarvy. However, the weight gain may not necessarily be a side effect of the drug.

If you have questions about weight changes, hair loss, or acne with Biktarvy, talk with your doctor.

Is Biktarvy a controlled substance?

No, Biktarvy is not a controlled substance.

A controlled substance is a medication that has a high risk of dependence or misuse. (Dependence means your body needs the drug to function like usual. Misuse means taking a drug differently from how your doctor prescribed it.) Because of these risks, controlled substances are closely regulated by the government.  

However, Biktarvy isn’t known to cause these risks.  

Can I take Tylenol with Biktarvy?

Yes, it’s likely safe to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) with Biktarvy. The manufacturer of Biktarvy hasn’t reported any interactions between these two drugs.

That said, it’s important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medications with Biktarvy. They’ll make sure it’s safe to take them together.

Biktarvy: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Biktarvy for HIV. Certain drugs may work better for you than others. Here’s a summary of other drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for HIV.

To learn more about alternatives to Biktarvy, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for HIV. This includes drugs such as Atripla and Odefsey.

Also, you can view the following comparison articles to learn more about certain similar drugs:

Biktarvy and alcohol

There aren’t any known interactions between alcohol and Biktarvy.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about the amount that’s safe for you to drink with Biktarvy.

Biktarvy: Dosage

Below you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Biktarvy. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

The dosage of Biktarvy that your doctor prescribes will depend on factors such as:

  • your age
  • any health conditions you have, such as kidney problems
  • body weight, in children taking the drug

Biktarvy’s forms and strengths

Biktarvy is available as follows:

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths:
    • 30 milligrams (mg) bictegravir/120 mg emtricitabine/15 mg tenofovir alafenamide
    • 50 milligrams mg bictegravir/200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide

Biktarvy’s recommended dosages

Recommended dosages for Biktarvy in adults and children are described below.

Adult dosage

Biktarvy’s recommended dosage in adults is:

  • dose: one tablet that contains 50 mg bictegravir/200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide
  • frequency: once per day

Your doctor may prescribe a different dosage of Biktarvy based on several factors, including whether you have renal (kidney) problems. If you have questions about renal dosing for Biktarvy, talk with your doctor.

Child dosage

Biktarvy can be prescribed for children who weigh at least 14 kilograms (kg), which is about 31 pounds (lb). (One kg is about 2.2 lb.)

Biktarvy’s recommended dosage in children who weigh 14 kg (31 lb) to less than 25 kg (55 lb) is:

  • dose: one tablet that contains 30 mg bictegravir/120 mg emtricitabine/15 mg tenofovir alafenamide
  • frequency: once per day

Biktarvy’s recommended dosage in children who weigh 25 kg (55 lb) or greater is:

  • dose: one tablet that contains 50 mg bictegravir/200 mg emtricitabine/25 mg tenofovir alafenamide
  • frequency: once per day

Your child’s doctor may prescribe a different dosage of Biktarvy based on several factors, including whether they have kidney problems. If you have questions about the right dosage for your child, talk with their doctor.

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Biktarvy’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Biktarvy, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. However, it’s important that you don’t miss any doses of the drug. A missed dose can allow your HIV to become resistant to Biktarvy. This means that Biktarvy won’t work as well for treating your HIV. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Biktarvy as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Biktarvy: Uses

Prescription drugs, such as Biktarvy, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions.

Using Biktarvy for HIV

The FDA has approved Biktarvy to treat HIV-1. (HIV-1 is the most common form of HIV.)

For this use, doctors can prescribe Biktarvy for adults and children who weigh at least 14 kilograms (kg), which is about 31 pounds (lb). (One kg is about 2.2 lb.)

Biktarvy can be used in people who haven’t received HIV treatments in the past. It can also be used to replace an HIV treatment when all the following criteria are met:

  • HIV blood levels are below 50 copies per milliliter (mL)*
  • other HIV treatments used in the past were effective for HIV
  • HIV isn’t resistant† to any of the active drugs in Biktarvy

Biktarvy is considered a complete HIV treatment regimen. This means that the drug doesn’t need to be taken with other HIV treatments.

* HIV is measured in copies per mL on certain lab tests. This number indicates how many copies of the virus are inside the body.
† HIV treatment resistance happens when HIV makes changes to itself. These changes protect the virus from how the drug works to treat it. As a result, the drug no longer works to treat HIV.

About HIV

HIV is a virus that attacks certain white blood cells. Your immune system uses white blood cells to fight off infections. Without these cells, you’re more likely to have a serious, life threatening infection.

HIV can spread from person to person through certain bodily fluids. This includes vaginal fluids, semen, breast milk, and blood. HIV does not spread through tears or saliva.

Some people may have HIV for many years before they start experiencing symptoms. Symptoms of HIV can include:

If HIV isn’t treated, it can develop into AIDS. This is an advanced form of HIV that increases your risk of infection even more.

Using Biktarvy in children

The FDA has approved Biktarvy to treat HIV in children who weigh at least 14 kg, which is about 31 lb. For details, see “Using Biktarvy for HIV” above.

Finding a healthcare professional for Biktarvy

If you’re interested in taking Biktarvy, you can find a doctor who might prescribe it by searching here. You can also prepare for your appointment by visiting Healthgrades’ appointment guide for HIV.

Biktarvy: How it works

Biktarvy is used to treat HIV in certain situations. For more information about how the drug is used, see the “Biktarvy: Uses” section above.

HIV is a virus that attacks certain white blood cells. Without these cells, you’re more likely to have a serious, life threatening infection.

The goal of HIV treatment is to lower the amount of HIV in your blood to a level that can’t be detected with lab tests. Having a very low level of the virus means the risk of passing it to someone else is extremely low.

Biktarvy belongs to a drug class called antiretrovirals. It works to treat HIV by stopping the virus from making copies of itself, lowering the amount of HIV in your blood.

How long does Biktarvy take to start working?

Biktarvy starts working right away to treat HIV. Because Biktarvy works by lowering your blood level of HIV, you may not notice the drug working in your body. However, your doctor will likely check your HIV level every few weeks to make sure the drug is working for you.

In general, HIV drugs, including Biktarvy, typically take 12 to 24 weeks to lower the amount of HIV in your blood to a level that can’t be detected with lab tests. A low level of HIV can help prevent the virus from being passed to another person.

How long does Biktarvy stay in your system?

Biktarvy stays in your system for about 3 to 4 days after you take it.

Biktarvy: Interactions

Biktarvy may interact with other medications and certain supplements. It is not known to interact with any foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to help avoid the interaction.

  • Biktarvy and dofetilide (Tikosyn) or rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane). The manufacturer of Biktarvy advises that these drugs should not be taken together. Dofetillde (Tikosyn) is a drug used for heart rhythm problems, and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane) is an antibiotic. Be sure to discuss with your doctor before taking these drugs together.
  • Biktarvy and other medications. Because Biktarvy may interact with the following drugs, your doctor may recommend that you don’t take it with these drugs. Examples include:
  • Biktarvy and herbs and supplements. Certain herbs and supplements may interact with Biktarvy. Examples include:
  • Biktarvy and foods. Biktarvy isn’t known to interact with any foods. If you’re unsure about eating certain foods with Biktarvy, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Biktarvy and pregnancy

It isn’t known if Biktarvy is safe to take during pregnancy. There haven’t been enough clinical studies of the drug’s use in pregnancy to know for sure whether it is safe.

If you take Biktarvy during pregnancy, consider enrolling in the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry. The registry collects information about the drug’s use during pregnancy. This helps doctors and researchers understand more about Biktarvy’s effects when used in pregnancy. For more information, you can talk with your doctor or visit the registry’s website. You can also call 800-258-­4263.

Biktarvy and birth control needs

Doctors aren’t sure whether it’s safe to take Biktarvy during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Biktarvy if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend whether you should use birth control with this medication.

Biktarvy and breastfeeding

You should not take Biktarvy while breastfeeding.

Emtricitabine (one of the active drugs in Biktarvy) can pass into breast milk. This can put a child who is breastfed at risk of side effects from the drug.

Animal studies found that bictegravir (another active drug in Biktarvy) is passed into the milk of lactating animals. However, animal studies don’t always predict what happens in humans.

In addition, breastfeeding a child who has HIV while you’re taking Biktarvy can increase the child’s risk of developing resistance to Biktarvy treatment. This means that Biktarvy won’t work as well for treating their HIV.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people with HIV avoid breastfeeding. This can help prevent HIV from passing to the child who is breastfed.

If you have questions about breastfeeding with HIV or while you are taking Biktarvy, talk with your doctor.

Biktarvy: How to take

Your doctor will recommend how you should take Biktarvy. It’s important that you take the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

Biktarvy comes as an oral tablet.

Questions about taking Biktarvy

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking Biktarvy.

  • When should I take Biktarvy? You’ll likely take Biktarvy once a day. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to take Biktarvy with food? You can take Biktarvy with or without food.
  • Can Biktarvy be chewed, split, or crushed? The manufacturer of Biktarvy hasn’t stated whether the tablets can be chewed or crushed. Adults should swallow Biktarvy tablets whole if possible. If you’re an adult who has trouble swallowing Biktarvy tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. If children have trouble swallowing Biktarvy tablets whole, the tablets can be split and taken in separate pieces. In this case, be sure all of the pieces are swallowed within about 10 minutes. (For information about children who can be prescribed Biktarvy, see the “Biktarvy: Uses” section above.)
  • Is there a best time of day to take Biktarvy? No, there isn’t a best time of day to take Biktarvy. You can take your dose at any time of day. However, try to take each dose around the same time each day. This helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body, which allows Biktarvy to work well.

Biktarvy: Precautions

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of worsened hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy. Stopping Biktarvy may lead to worsened hepatitis B in people who have both HIV and the hepatitis B virus (HBV). (This is the virus that causes hepatitis B, which affects the liver.) Worsened hepatitis B can lead to other liver problems, including liver failure. Before starting Biktarvy, your doctor will likely give you an HBV test.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before you stop taking Biktarvy. If you have HBV and your doctor feels it’s safe to stop Biktarvy, they’ll likely monitor you with tests. These tests, called liver function tests, check how well your liver is working. Your doctor may give you these tests for several months after stopping treatment.

If you have worsening hepatitis B after stopping Biktarvy, your doctor may give you treatments for the condition.

Other precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Biktarvy. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Depression or other mental health conditions. In rare cases, Biktarvy may cause depression or suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Your risk of these side effects may be higher if you already have depression or another mental health condition. Before taking Biktarvy, tell your doctor if you have any mental health conditions. They’ll advise if it’s safe for you to take Biktarvy.
  • Kidney problems. Biktarvy may cause new or worsened kidney problems. Be sure your doctor knows about any kidney problems you have before starting Biktarvy. They may recommend a different treatment for your condition.
  • Liver problems. Doctors typically will not prescribe Biktarvy for people with severe liver problems. Before you start taking Biktarvy, be sure your doctor knows if you have severe liver problems. They may prescribe a drug other than Biktarvy for you.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Biktarvy If you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if Biktarvy is safe to take while pregnant. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Biktarvy while pregnant, view the “Biktarvy and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s recommended that you avoid breastfeeding while taking Biktarvy. If you’d like to learn more information about this, view the “Biktarvy and breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Biktarvy that could be harmful, see the “Biktarvy: Side effects” section above.

Biktarvy: Overdose

For some drugs, taking more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose. Do not use more Biktarvy than your doctor advises.

What to do if you take too much Biktarvy

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or, go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Biktarvy: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Biktarvy’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

  • Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Biktarvy’s packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you avoid using expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.
  • Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. Biktarvy tablets in a blister pack should be stored at room temperature, which is around 77°F (25°C). They can be stored at temperatures between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C) for a short time, such as when you’re traveling. Biktarvy tablets in a bottle can be stored below 86°F (30°C). Avoid storing it in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms. The medication should be kept away from light in a tightly sealed container.
  • Disposal. It’s important to safely dispose of Biktarvy if you no longer need to take it and have unused medication. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps avoid causing harm to the environment. Ask your pharmacist for information about disposing of Biktarvy. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Biktarvy: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Biktarvy, talk with your doctor. They can help advise whether Biktarvy could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How is Biktarvy different from other drugs that treat HIV?
  • How can I help prevent HIV drug resistance with Biktarvy?
  • Does smoking while taking Biktarvy increase my risk of health problems?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find this article helpful in learning about alternative drugs. And check out our selection of videos on HIV.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades 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.

Medical Reviewer: Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCP
Last Review Date: 2022 Feb 12
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.