Q and A

Question

Is it okay to change from Kivexa to Descovy?

Answer

Hi

Thanks for your question.

HIV treatment should always be individualised to your own health and HIV treatment history.

Kivexa and Descovy are both single pills that contain two drugs called NRTIs. Both are very good at controlling HIV when combined with a third HIV drug. It is easy and safe to switch from one to the other, if your doctor thinks this is better for you.

  • Kivexa includes abacavir plus lamivudine (3TC).
  • Descovy includes tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) plus emtricitabne (FTC)

A third dual-NRTI uses and older version of tenofovir (called TDF) with FTC.

Sometimes the choice of dual-NRTI depends on the third drug you are using. For example, Kivexa plus dolutegravir is included in a single pill called Triumeq. Descovy plus bictegravir is included in a single pill called Biktarvy.

The main concern with abacavir is a link to cardiovascular side effects (heart problems). This is only in people who are already at high risk for heart problems.

In the UK, Descovy is generally only available for people who can’t use either abacavir/3TC or TDF/FTC – usually because of the side effects with these meds. This is because Descovy is more expensive than either abacavir/3TC or TDF/FTC.

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