Prescription medication Truvada is under scrutiny in light of recent lawsuits alleging that the drug has dangerous side effects. Multiple plaintiffs allege that Truvada can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to the liver, kidneys, and bones, and that the drug manufacturer failed to adequately warn the public of such dangers or adopt a safer formula for the drug.
What is Truvada?
Truvada is a prescription medication used to treat the effects of HIV-1. Truvada also helps prevent the transmission of HIV-1, and can protect HIV-negative patients from contracting the disease. Although Truvada is not a cure for HIV, it can help slow the progression of the disease and minimize some of the effects.
Due to its chemical composition, Truvada must be taken in high dosages in order to work effectively. Unfortunately, patients taking high dosages over an extended period of time may experience long-term side effects and even permanent damage.
What makes Truvada dangerous?
One of the active ingredients in Truvada is the substance tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, or TDF. TDF may be toxic in high dosages, particularly when taken over a long period of time. Unfortunately, due to its low absorption rate, drugs like Truvada must be taken in high dosages in order to work effectively. Truvada in particular must be taken daily, and will only slow the progress of HIV-1 if taken consistently over a period of time. This creates a difficult dilemma for patients, and gives drug manufacturers an incentive to exaggerate the safety of their drugs.
Last April, 41 plaintiffs from across the country filed a class action lawsuit against Gilead, Truvada’s manufacturer. The lawsuit alleged that Gilead knew of the serious side effects associated with TDF, but failed to adequately warn consumers of Truvada and other TDF-based drugs. Each plaintiff claims to have suffered bone damage or kidney issues after taking Gilead’s TDF-based drugs.
The suit also alleges that Gilead knew of a safer alternative substance, tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), that it could have used in place of TDF. Plaintiffs argue that drugs like Truvada would be just as effective, and far safer, if made with TAF instead. However, Gilead refused to implement the alternate substance.
What medical problems can Truvada cause?
Truvada is linked with numerous severe side effects, including:
- Bone density loss, leading to osteoporosis and easily-broken bones
- Immune reconstitution syndrome, causing dormant infections to “reappear” in the body
- Kidney problems, including decreased kidney function, chronic kidney disease, renal failure, low kidney function requiring dialysis, high creatinine levels,
- Bone fractures
- Fanconi Syndrome/proximal renal tubule dysfunction
Indicators for some of the serious conditions listed above may include muscle cramps, bone or muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, abdomninal pain and swelling, yellow skin, and/or difficulty breathing.
These side effects may be potentially life-threatening, especially in elderly or vulerable patients.
If I or a loved one suffer complications from Truvada, what should I do?
Call the Tennessee defective drug attorneys at David Randolph Smith right away. Our experienced attorneys offer free consultations and expert advice on the next steps to take with your Truvada claim.