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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications are a class of drug taken by HIV-negative individuals at high risk of developing HIV in order to prevent it and other sexually transmitted diseases. PrEP medications are most effective when taken daily, but recent studies indicate high levels of certain PrEP drugs in the body may be linked to increased risk of kidney disease, including kidney failure, and loss of bone density, including osteoporosis, especially around the spine and hip.

What Drugs May Cause Kidney Disease and Bone Injuries?

Five HIV prevention drugs manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc., may cause severe and adverse health risks. They include

  • Truvada® (emtricitabine/tenofovir)
  • Atripla® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir)
  • Viread® (tenofovir)
  • Stribild® (elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir)
  • Complera® (rilpivirine/emtricitabine/tenofovir)

If you or a loved one were prescribed any of these medications and have since experienced harmful side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

Watch for These Symptoms if You Take HIV or STD Prevention Medication

Studies found a consistent relationship between increasing levels of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (the main active ingredient in several major PrEP medications) in the body­–indicating a daily dosage­ as recommended–and a decrease in kidney function and bone density. People aged 50 or older and people with pre-existing kidney and bone conditions are most susceptible.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease

  • Shortness of breath
  • Itching and/or swelling
  • Upset stomach, nausea, and/or vomiting
  • Feeling weak, confused, and/or experiencing difficulty thinking clearly
  • Changes in your urine and/or how often you urinate

Symptoms of Bone Density Loss

  • Sudden and unusual bone pain and/or muscular pain
  • Pain in the extremities
  • Fractures

Lawsuits Against Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., the manufacturer of Truvada® and other HIV prevention drugs, has been accused of withholding a safer and more effective version of its drug in a patent-timing scheme to maximize profits, according to a lawsuit filed in San Francisco in April 2019, on behalf of California and non-California residents.

The suit alleges that Gilead Sciences developed a version of its HIV prevention drug in 2004 that did not cause the same harmful side effects by using tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) in place of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). However, the company stopped work on the TAF drug and only sold and marketed the TDF version until the original patent expired in 2015. At that point, it applied for a new patent for the TAF drug. Because of this delay, thousands of users needlessly developed kidney and bone problems.

The suit further alleges that Gilead Sciences withheld clinical trial results from the FDA showing that potential side effects of its drugs, including kidney disease and osteoporosis, were more serious than reported.

Claims against Gilead Sciences include design defects, failure to warn, negligence, and product liability.

What Compensation May be Available for Victims of Defective HIV and STD Prevention Drugs?

If you experienced a decline in health caused by Truvada or a similar drug manufactured by Gilead Sciences, you shouldn’t be forced to pay for the resulting medical bills out of pocket. When you speak with our drug injury lawyers, we may be able to help you get several forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses for past treatment
  • Anticipated medical expenses for ongoing treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

Get Legal Help for Your PrEP Complications

If you or someone you loved began experiencing health problems after taking Truvada®, Atripla®, Viread®, Stribild®, Complera®, or another PrEP drug, you may be eligible for compensation. When drug manufacturers fail to warn users of the health risks associated with their products, they need to be held accountable when their drugs make people ill.

Our law firm wants to help you get compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Contact our legal team to speak with a defective drug attorney today about your case.



New research at CROI 2016: How PrEP changes kidney function



Truvada®, Atripla®, Viread®, Stribild®, and Complera® are registered trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., and are used here only to identify the products in question.

This law firm is not associated with, sponsored by, or affiliated with any of the drug manufacturers or the sources cited.

Do not stop taking a prescription medication without first consulting with your doctor. Discontinuing a prescribed medication without your doctor's advice can result in injury or death. 

Cases may be referred to another attorney or law firm.

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