Descovy was approved to be given with other HIV medications to treat HIV-1 infection in patients 12 years of age and older.
This medication is not to be used to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 in adults at high risk (known as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP). Furthermore, Descovy does not cure HIV.
Descovy is Gilead's third tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) based therapy on the market. According to Gilead, TAF works just as well as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), another version of tenofovir — and at a lower dose. The lower dose may result in less toxicity and reduced side effects, according to Gilead, the drug manufacturer.
This medication carries a boxed warning noting that it may raise the risk for lactic acidosis, a condition in which too much lactic acid builds up in the bloodstream, which can cause nausea and weakness.
The boxed warning also notes that there may be a raised risk of swelling of the liver with steatosis, which is a buildup of fat in the liver. In addition, Descovy may also worsen symptoms of hepatitis B, an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus, in those with HIV-1 and HBV.