HIV Drug Treatment Center

What Is Complera, the HIV Drug?

Learn more about Complera, a combination pill that treats HIV.

Pharmacist Punkaj Khanna overviews Complera, a prescription drug used to treat the HIV virus. Complera is an antiviral medication that combines three different drugs into one pill - Rilpivrine, Emtricitabine, and Tenofovir. Complera is meant to be used by patients who have never used HIV medications before, and have a viral load of 100,000. 

You can use Complera to replace current HIV medications if you have an undetectable viral load of less than 50, and also meet other specific requirements. It is important to note that Complera does not cure HIV or stop the spread of the disease from being passed through blood. Make sure to never have unprotected sex, or share objects like toothbrushes or razors. 

It is important to visit your doctor to have your blood checked regularly. Before you start treatment with Complera, your doctor may want to complete a bone test to look for any potential bone issues. You and your doctor should also discuss if you have any allergies to food or medicines, have Hepatitis B or other conditions, are taking any other medications and if you have Kidney Disease before you start taking Complera. 

Complera comes in pill form. It is important to take the drug as it is prescribed by your doctor. This is typically one pill per day, taken with food. You should not consume any antacids two hours before and four hours following taking Complera. If you forget to take a dose of Complera, take the pill as soon as you remember with food. However, if it has been 12 hours or more since you were supposed to take Complera, skip the missed does and get back on track at your next regular time. It is important to note that you should never take two pills at once, or add extra doses of Complera. 

Like all medications, Complera may cause potential side effects. These include; an allergic reaction, kidney problems, a noticeable gain in weight, symptoms of lactic acidosis, burning, numbness, tingling sensations, bone pain, muscle pain, pain in arms or legs and changes in fat on the body. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult with your doctor immediately. 

Medications and treatment plans may affect individuals differently. Talk to your doctor about your HIV treatment plan to determine what is right for you.


Punkaj Khanna, Pharm. D.

This video features Punkaj Khanna, Pharm. D.. Punkaj Khanna earned his Pharm.D. from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. He works at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and has special interests in patient education and compliance.

Duration: 3:34. Last Updated On: Jan. 16, 2019, 12:52 p.m.
Reviewed by: Mera Goodman, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: Jan. 16, 2019
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