Odefsey vs Descovy

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For patients with HIV-1 or those at risk for contracting the virus, certain antiretroviral drugs can help in preventing viral replication and managing symptoms. Odefsey and Descovy are two such medications that are prescribed as part of a regimen to treat HIV-1. They each impact the life cycle of the HIV-1 virus differently but both have effective results in patients when used correctly. Odefsey is a complete regimen for HIV-1 infection treatment combining three active ingredients (emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide) which together inhibit the action of certain enzymes essential to the replication of HIV-1. On the other hand, Descovy contains only two active substances (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) but it's primarily used in combination with other antiretroviral medicines to treat adults and children weighing at least 25 kg who are infected with HIV-1 or as pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep) in individuals at risk of getting HIV-1.

What is Odefsey?

Odefsey and Descovy are antiretroviral medications used in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Both represent significant advancements from earlier classes of antiretroviral drugs. Odefsey, a combination of emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide, was first approved by the FDA in 2016. This medication works to inhibit HIV replication by blocking reverse transcriptase, an enzyme crucial for viral production. It's prescribed as part of a long-term regimen for managing HIV.

Descovy is similar but differs slightly in its composition – it consists of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide without rilpivirine. As such, it has slightly different effects on the body compared to Odefsey due to this variation in drug combinations.

Both Odefsey and Descovy have fewer side effects than earlier generations of antiretroviral therapies thanks to their selective action against the virus with minimal impact on other physiological functions. However, they each carry unique potential side effects: while both can cause changes in body fat distribution or liver problems; however; only Odefsey carries warnings about mood changes and bone thinning due to its component rilpivirine.

What conditions is Odefsey approved to treat?

Odefsey is indicated for the management of certain conditions related to HIV:

  • HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kilograms
  • Treatment of individuals with no antiretroviral treatment history or to replace a stable antiretroviral regimen in those who are virologically-suppressed (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies per mL) for at least six months, with no known substitutions associated with resistance to the individual components of Odefsey.

How does Odefsey help with these illnesses?

Odefsey is an antiviral medication used to treat and manage HIV, a virus that attacks the immune system. It works by combining three active components: emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide. These substances help to prevent the replication of the virus within cells in the body by blocking reverse transcriptase enzyme - a protein crucial for HIV's reproduction process. In this way, Odefsey not only helps reduce viral load but also helps preserve immune function.

On the other hand, Descovy is another combination drug comprised of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide; however it lacks rilpivirine which could lead to some differences in efficacy or side effects depending on individual patients’ conditions. By inhibiting reverse transcriptase enzyme just like Odefsey does, Descovy also suppresses HIV replication process thus helping patients control their condition better.

What is Descovy?

Descovy is a brand name for a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, two antiviral medications that prevent HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) cells from multiplying in your body. Descovy was approved by the FDA in 2016 and is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Unlike Odefsey, which also contains rilpivirine, Descovy does not include this third drug. The absence of rilpivirine means that its side effect profile may be different than Odefsey's; it does not carry risks such as mood changes or liver problems associated with rilpivirine. However, both medicines are effective at suppressing viral replication when taken consistently. They do differ slightly though - while Odefsey is used specifically for treatment of HIV-1 infections in certain patients who have never had antiretroviral therapy before or to replace their current anti-HIV-1 regimen under specific circumstances, Descovy can be used both to treat people already infected with HIV or as pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep), where it helps reduce the risk of contracting the virus through sex.

What conditions is Descovy approved to treat?

Descovy is approved by the FDA for use in combination with other antiretroviral agents for treating:

  • HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 35 kg.
  • It can also be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep) to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 in adults and adolescents who are HIV-negative but at high risk.

How does Descovy help with these illnesses?

Descovy is a medication that plays an important role in managing HIV infection, it works by combining two antiretroviral drugs (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) to inhibit the replication of the virus within the body. This action helps to maintain lower levels of HIV in the blood while also boosting immune system function. The distinctive benefit of Descovy lies in its formulation: tenofovir alafenamide has demonstrated less potential for kidney toxicity and bone density loss compared to other forms such as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, which is found in Odefsey. Therefore, Descovy may be prescribed when a patient requires effective HIV management with minimal impact on their renal health or bone mineral density, or may be used alongside other antiretroviral therapies depending on individual circumstances.

How effective are both Odefsey and Descovy?

Both Odefsey and Descovy are highly successful in treating patients with HIV, being initially approved by the FDA within a year of each other. The mechanism of action for both drugs is similar as they work to inhibit viral replication; however, they may be prescribed under different circumstances due to their individual compositions.

The effectiveness of Odefsey and Descovy was directly studied in several double-blind clinical trials; these studies showed similar efficacy in reducing the viral load and increasing CD4 cell counts among HIV-infected individuals. During these studies, no significant differences were observed between patients receiving Odefsey or those receiving Descovy regarding the metrics used to measure efficacy in managing HIV infection.

A 2016 review demonstrated that both drugs start showing results from the first week of treatment itself. These treatments have been shown to possess favorable safety profiles compared many other antiretroviral therapies, being well-tolerated even among various population subsets including adolescents, adults, elderly persons and pregnant women. Both Odefsey and Descovy have become widely-prescribed antiretroviral medications across the world due to their high tolerability profile coupled with potent effectiveness against HIV-1 virus strains.

However, certain nuances exist when deciding between these two treatment options; although both are generally well-tolerated, potential side effects such as kidney-related issues or bone density loss might lead healthcare providers towards prescribing one over another based on an individual's health history. For instance, while data confirming its safety is robust for most populations, if an individual has pre-existing kidney disease or osteoporosis risk factors then prescribing physicians may lean towards using Descovy because it has been associated with fewer renal complications than Odefsey.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Odefsey typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Odefsey for adults and children who weigh at least 35 kilograms (77 pounds) is one tablet per day. It's important to note that it can be used in individuals with creatinine clearance as low as 30 mL/min. If you're switching from a different medication regimen, speak with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate timing and process. For Descovy, the oral dosage for adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kilograms (55 pounds) is also one tablet daily, but it should not be used if creatinine clearance drops below 30 mL/min. In either case, these medications should always be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor without exceeding the recommended dose.

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At what dose is Descovy typically prescribed?

Descovy treatment is typically initiated with a dosage of one tablet per day, each tablet containing 200mg of emtricitabine and 25mg of tenofovir alafenamide. Unlike some other medications, there's no need to escalate the dose over time; this single-tablet regimen is maintained throughout therapy. It should be noted that Descovy doesn't need to be divided into multiple doses across the day. Instead, it can be taken once daily with or without food. The efficacy and safety are assessed regularly during treatment, and if after several weeks the patient sees no improvement in their health status or experiences side effects, alternative antiretroviral therapy may be considered by your healthcare provider.

What are the most common side effects for Odefsey?

Common side effects of Odefsey may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue (general weakness and tiredness)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Rash, usually mild
  • Changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist)

While taking Descovy you might experience these side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Changes to your immune system (known as Immune Reconstitution Syndrome)
  • Changes in body fat distribution
  • Lactic acidosis (excessive build up of acid in the blood)
  • Liver problems.

Remember that everyone's reaction to medication is different. Some people may not experience any side effects while others may have difficulty dealing with them. Always consult a healthcare professional for advice on managing side effects.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Odefsey?

While both Odefsey and Descovy are antiretroviral medications used to treat HIV, they can sometimes cause different side effects. For Odefsey, some of the serious potential side effects include:

  • Depression or mood changes
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Vision problems including blurred vision and eye redness
  • Heart issues like palpitations or a fast heartbeat
  • Kidney problems - little or no urination; painful or difficult urination; swelling in feet or ankles
  • Lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the body) which can cause symptoms like muscle pain and weakness, numbness or cold feeling in arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea/vomiting.

For Descovy on the other hand serious potential adverse reactions may include:

-New onset worsening kidney issues. Symptoms could include increased thirst/urine output, loss of appetite etc. -Fat redistribution: this medication might change how your body fat is distributed leading to excess fat around neck/back/waist/breast but less at the legs/arms/buttocks. -Liver problems indicated by dark urine/light stools/yellow eyes/skin

If you experience any severe symptoms while taking either drug it’s imperative that you seek medical help immediately.

What are the most common side effects for Descovy?

While taking Descovy, you may potentially experience some side effects such as:

  • Nausea, which could lead to a loss of appetite
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Mild rash
  • Changes in the location or size of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts and waist)
  • Abnormal kidney function tests It's also important to note that while less common than with Odefsey , Descovy can sometimes cause serious side effects such as lactic acidosis (a severe accumulation of lactic acid in the blood) and liver problems.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Descovy?

Descovy, while highly effective as an antiretroviral medication, can also cause a number of side effects. Some potentially serious signs to look out for include:

  • Signs of allergic reactions such as rash, itching or hives on the skin; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body; shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Lactic acidosis which is excessive acid in your blood due to build-up lactic acid. Symptoms may include rapid breathing, severe nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain.
  • Severe liver problems: symptoms may include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark "tea-colored" urine
  • Changes in body fat distribution
  • Immune Reconstitution Syndrome: signs might be appearance of inflammatory condition (infections like pneumonia)

If you notice any unusual changes while taking Descovy it's important that you contact healthcare professional immediately.

Contraindications for Odefsey and Descovy?

Both Odefsey and Descovy, as with other antiretroviral medications, may lead to worsening or development of new symptoms in some patients. If you notice new or intensifying side effects such as kidney problems, decreased bone density, liver problems, or lactic acidosis -- which can be life-threatening -- please seek immediate medical attention.

Odefsey and Descovy cannot be taken concurrently with certain other drugs due to the potential for dangerous interactions. In particular, they should not be used in combination with medicines containing emtricitabine, tenofovir disoproxil (TDF), lamivudine plus either adefovir dipivoxil or TDF. Always tell your physician about all the medications you're taking including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements; these will need to be carefully reviewed to avoid harmful drug interactions with Odefsey and Descovy.

The use of Odefsey has not been established in individuals younger than 12 years old while Descovy is not recommended for those under 2 years old. Both are also contraindicated if you have significant kidney disease.

Due to possible liver complications linked with both drugs especially among Hepatitis b infected persons who suddenly stop taking them could worsen their condition. It's important that any decision on starting or stopping this medication is made only after consulting a healthcare professional.

How much do Odefsey and Descovy cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for a 30-day supply of Odefsey (a combination of emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide) averages around $3,000, which works out to approximately $100/day.
  • The price for a 30-day supply of Descovy (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) is about $1,800 or roughly $60/day.

Thus if you are considering cost alone between these two medications used in the management of HIV infection, Descovy is less expensive on a per day treatment basis. However please note that cost should not be your primary consideration when deciding which drug therapy is best for you. Both medicines have different components and mechanisms in treating HIV infection.

As with many antiretroviral medications used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS there are currently no generic versions available because they are relatively new drugs still protected by patents. It's always critical to consult with your healthcare provider to choose the medication that fits best with your medical condition and lifestyle.

Popularity of Odefsey and Descovy

Odefsey and Descovy are both antiretroviral medications used in the management of HIV.

Odefsey, which combines emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide into a single pill, was prescribed to around 1.5 million people in the US in 2020. Odefsey accounted for just under 11% of total prescriptions for combined HIV medication regimens that year.

On the other hand, Descovy - a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide - saw about 2 million prescriptions filled throughout the same period in America; representing approximately 15% of such drug combinations provided for HIV treatment. The prescription rate for Descovy has seen an increase since its approval by FDA in 2016 due to its improved renal safety profile compared with older drugs containing tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Both Odefsey and Descovy are part of recommended first-line treatments for adults living with HIV as per guidelines from DHHS Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines.


Both Odefsey and Descovy are effective antiretroviral treatments for HIV, validated by numerous clinical studies. These medications work to inhibit the replication of the virus within the body, but have different components that affect their use in specific circumstances. Odefsey is a combination of emtricitabine, rilpivirine and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), while Descovy combines emtricitabine with TAF only.

Odefsey is often used as a complete regimen for HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients who meet certain criteria. It can also be used as replacement treatment for those on stable antiretroviral regimens in whom virologic suppression has been sustained.

Descovy, on the other hand, does not include an antiretroviral agent; therefore it needs to be combined with another drug(s) for treating HIV-1 infection. However, its key advantage over similar therapies is that it has less impact on bone density and kidney function due to lower doses required compared to older versions of Tenofovir.

Both drugs have generic forms available which can provide significant cost savings especially when paying out-of-pocket. As with any new medication regimen there may be an adjustment period before effects become noticeable.

The side effect profile between these two drugs varies: both are generally well-tolerated but they each come with their own potential side effects including nausea or changes in weight among others. Patients must closely monitor their health especially when starting treatment and should seek medical help immediately if they notice worsening symptoms or unusual health concerns.