What Are the Contraindications for the Use of Tenofovir?

Although there’s no cure, HIV/AIDS is treatable. There is hope for millions of those inflicted with the virus to treat the infection and live a healthier and longer life. The best part of it is that these remedies are easily accessible and cost-effective in treating and managing the virus.

Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (also known as tenofovir DF) is a fixed-dose prodrug of tenofovir (antiretroviral agent) which is used to treat various diseases including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B. it exists as a potent nucleotide analog RTIs. It’s the ultimately recommended drug needed in the healthcare system in treating HIV-1 infection (including AIDS) and HBV.

Tenofovir DF is an effective and tolerable drug that works by decreasing the replication activity of the virus. Essentially, HIV-1 infection relies on the activity of reverse transcriptase – a viral DNA polymerase that is vital for multiplication (or duplication) of HIV-1 as well as other retroviruses.

When tenofovir DF inhibit the activity of reverse transcriptase, it limits its ability to replicate in the body. Note that when the number of virus increase, the CD4 cells (a type of white blood cell responsible for fighting the body viruses) are decreased making the body immune system weaker.

Although it’s the best-known drug with high efficacy and tolerability, it’s also important to know the underlying dosage information, precautions and warnings as well as drug contraindications to ensure you stay safe and healthy from adverse reactions that may affect your health.

That’s what we’re going to look at in this article. At HIVPrEP, we provide you with detailed information on various drug usage, its reactions precautions and contraindication to ensure you use the medication safely with higher efficacy and tolerability. It’s very important to be informed prior to using any medications especially if it’s available without a prescription.

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🔍What Are the Precautions for Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate Users?

There are some warnings and precautions you need to note prior to administering tenofovir DF [1]. Its advisable to carefully inform your doctor for all the drugs and other medications you’re using (including prescription meds, OTC meds, and also herbal products) as well as if you had earlier been treated with any illness. This is very important prior to performing any surgery.

Inform your doctor if you have ever had a medical history of kidney and liver problems, bone and pancreas disease as well as alcohol use. This is to ensure safe drug performance in your body resulting in higher efficacy and tolerability with fewer side effects.

At best, limit or completely avoid the use of alcohol as it’s accompanied by a high risk of liver and pancreatitis problems. You should also limit the use of alcoholic beverages.

Allergic to tenofovir DF or any other allergies from the medication you use is also another crucial precaution you should let your doctor know. Dizziness is also another effect you may experience. Do not do any activity that demands alertness such as driving or using any machinery until you’re totally sure you can execute such activities safely.

Tenofovir DF may pass into breast milk. Seek advice from your doctor prior to breastfeeding. There is a high chance of transmitting HIV to your baby if you have HIV infection [2].

📋Can I Take It If I Have Renal Disease?

Kidney plays a major role in your body. When it’s damaged, it can affect its essential functions of cleaning your blood, helping control your blood pressure, and filtering extra water out of your blood. Kidney failure can lead to waste products and fluid building up in your body.

The final stage of kidney disease is known as a renal disease (also known as ESRD). It’s the most acute phase of chronic kidney disease.

Taking tenofovir DF has no adverse effect on people with kidney problems. The first part (as early as mid-term use) of using this tab may cause a slight decline in kidney function. Research shows that long-term use of tenofovir DF is safe for the kidneys no matter the kidney disease stage [3].

From other studies, kidney injury is reported to cause an adverse but rare effect affecting a small percentage (between 1–5 %) patients leading to a declining kidney function if used long-term [4].

Although a sufficient percentage shows tenofovir to be in patients with renal disease, it’s always important to stay close to your doctor for monitoring and analysis especially at the first short-term use of tenofovir DF.

🤰Tenofovir Contraindications in Pregnancy

Although it’s contraindicated, various research shows that there are no adverse reactions (that may demand safety-related precautions) for preventing the use of tenofovir DF during pregnancy or when breastfeeding [5].

There are no significant differences among women using TDF during pregnancy and those not pregnant [6]. Another debated outcome of TDF contraindication is that tenofovir DF has minimal penetration into breast milk but has no significant effect. Breastfeeding women living with HIV are advised not to use this drug or stop breastfeeding.

It’s important to understand that TDF has no significant effect on pregnant women and it’s safe to use. A doctor should give you further tailored and heedful precautions on how to use this drug either during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Close monitoring should always be performed to ensure the effective functioning of this drug.


  1. Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate: Warnings and Precautions. aidsinfo.nih.gov.
  2. Breastfeeding While Taking Lamivudine or Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate: A Review of the Evidence. Stephan Ehrhardt Chan Xie Nan Guo Kenrad Nelson Chloe L. Thio. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 60, Issue 2, 15 January 2015, Pages 275–278. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  3. Tenofovir Effect on the Kidneys of HIV-Infected Patients: A Double-Edged Sword? Jérôme Tourret, Gilbert Deray and Corinne Isnard-Bagnis. JASN October 2013, 24 (10) 1519-1527.
  4. Changes in renal function associated with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate treatment, compared with nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor treatment. Gallant JE, Parish MA, Keruly JC, Moore RD. Retrieved April 15, 2005.
  5. Mofenson, Lynne & C. Baggaley, Rachel & Mameletzis, Ioannis. (2016). Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate Safety for Women and their Infants during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Systematic Review. AIDS. 31(2):1.
  6. Tenofovir Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings. Drugs.com.
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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