Truvada and Human Organism: How Long Does Drug Stay Visible?

Do you know how long Truvada stays in your body after a single intake? You do need to take the medication as directed by your doctor. Sometimes it’s necessary to know the concentration of the drug in our body to assess health and risk factors. What’s more? It also confirms our adherence to the medication (if you are really using the medication).

Have you been using Truvada as directed by your doctor? Do you need to stop your Truvada medication and need to know if you still have it in your body? There are various ways to answer this question. But have you thought of what will happen if you don’t adhere to Truvada for PrEP?

How long does Truvada stay in your system? At HIVPrEP, we provide you with information on PrEP medication and more helpful guides. Let’s look at the time Truvada takes to fully leave your body and the possible tests to determine the level of concentration of the drug in your body. There are various ways to achieve this. The most known ones include hair, blood, and urine tests.

⏱How Long Does Truvada Stay in Organism After Single Intake?

Most PrEP skeptics bring attention to the need to research and create guidelines to test whether a patient has been fully adhering to the Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir) usage and its potential harms.

There is a stirring need to clarify whether a lack of adherence to emtricitabine/tenofovir will create an increased level of resistance to HIV and other possible harms.

Many people are curious to know the half-life of any drug. The half-life of some drugs can easily be determined while others are complex to draw conclusions. This is attributed to various factors like drug usage consistency, body weight & fat percentage, general nutrition, age, genetics, liver & kidney health, and individual metabolism speed.

TDF/FTC for PrEP is known to provide full HIV protection after 1 week (by average) of consistent daily dosage in MSM [1]. Some other guidelines including CDC PrEP guidelines depict that the time to optimal protection with FTC/TDF and duration of protection after terminating the use of this drug remains unknown [2]. It’s presumed that Truvada takes 1 week for the concentration to remain protective after stopping it.

The half-life of Truvada is 17 hours. The time it takes for the concentration to disappear is estimated to be 216 hours (or 9 days) [3]. Does this mean the drug will be fully gone from the body organs?

Some may experience signs of Truvada’s effects for a few weeks or months after stopping it. This may be associated with other health factors that you may have. To know if Truvada is the cause of these signs; hair, urine, and blood are tools used to measure the level of concentration of TDF/FTC in your body.

🔬Can Be Truvada Shown Up During the Drug Test?

Hair, urine, and blood (dried blood spot or DBS) analyses are the best methods used by clinicians to determine PrEP adherence. With these tools, you can know if the patient has been adhering to the Truvada prescription as it allows you to assess the level of the drug concentration in the body.

In some instances, it’s good to know if Truvada for PrEP can show up during drug tests. As a fact, most HIV drugs have no impact on drug tests, except efavirenz which might return a false positive test for marijuana and benzodiazepines.

💇‍♂️Hair Sample

This method is used to measure the concentration or drug level of Truvada in the body. It’s a promising method to determine patient adherence to the PrEP prescription.

Hair testing, unlike the other two methods, avoids the “white coat” effect. As is common in humans, an individual could take their HIV PrEP medication inconsistently, but being aware of the coming drug test, he/she could adhere to the drug prescription before a medical appointment (to create an impression).

As an advantage, hair is easy and cheap to collect and can be maintained at room temperature without biohazard measures. The downside to this method is that it must be performed in a lab. It can’t be done in real-time while a patient waits [4].

💉Blood and Urine

Using a special filter paper, drops of blood can be collected and used to assess Truvada levels in red blood cells. It’s a strong indicator of drug prescription adherence over time. The downside to this is that the indicator determines the dosage of the drug within a short period of time as compared to hair testing.

But this test can fail in determining the consistency of drug usage. An individual might only adhere to drug dosage before the checkup to get the right results.

A urine test is relatively cheap compared to blood and hair testing. Many patients like this method. Urine remains stable for a period of 14 days (kept at room temperature). This test provides adherence to the drug for a long period of time, even up to 48 weeks.

💡In Conclusion

Truvada does not cause drug test interference. Drug adherence and treatment is necessary for patient safety. If not following the recommended dosage, chances of drug resistance and potential harm are very high.

The above three methods of drug testing can give varying results of drug adherence. Urine is the most commonly used method as it creates assurance from a patient with immediate feedback.

If you’re on the PrEP pill, adherence to prescription is very beneficial to your health. It gives you effective performance and high protection. Never use this drug alone, combine with other safer sex practices for optimal HIV-1 protection.

📚References:

  1. Dose Response for Starting and Stopping HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis for Men Who Have Sex With Men. Sharon M. Seifert David V. Glidden Amie L. Meditz Jose R. Castillo-Mancilla Edward M. Gardner Julie A. Predhomme Caitlin Rower Brandon Klein Becky J. Kerr L. Anthony Guida Jia-Hua Zheng Lane R. Bushman Peter L. Anderson. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 60, Issue 5, 1 March 2015, Pages 804–810. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  2. Preexposure Prophylaxis for the Prevention of HIV Infection in the United States – 2017 Update. A clinical practice guideline. US Public Health Service. cdc.gov.
  3. Plasma Tenofovir, Emtricitabine, and Rilpivirine and Intracellular Tenofovir Diphosphate and Emtricitabine Triphosphate Pharmacokinetics following Drug Intake Cessation. Laura Dickinson, H. Manisha Yapa, Akil Jackson, Graeme Moyle, Laura Else, Alieu Amara, Saye Khoo, David Back, Zeenat Karolia, Chris Higgs, Marta Boffito. aac.asm.org.
  4. Antiretroviral drug levels in hair strongly predict viral suppression. aidsmap.com. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
Logan Morris

Expert in pharmaceutical practice and antiviral medicine, founder of HIVPrEP. Main goal is to popularize HIV topics and create awareness for global masses on how to prevent the disease and how to use HIV medication safely.

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