More than 80 percent of individuals starting or continuing an HIV drug regimen in the U.S. today take one or more HIV drugs manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc., according to a lawsuit filed against Gilead. However, five of the company’s drugs have been linked to multiple serious complications because they all contain tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). This substance is highly toxic in large doses over a long period of time. One of the medications in question, Truvada, is used to both reduce the risk of contracting HIV-1 and treat the illness in combination with other medications. Adverse reactions to this medication include decreased bone density, lactic acidosis (the buildup of lactic acid in the blood), kidney failure and liver problems. Several lawsuits are now being filed against the drug’s manufacturer from individuals who began treatment with Truvada and developed severe medical problems.
If you or a loved one has experienced severe bone loss, liver-related issues or kidney side effects after taking the HIV antiviral drug Truvada, it is best to seek legal representation as soon as possible. You may be entitled to file a Truvada lawsuit. The knowledgeable defective drug attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can review your claim, determine your legal options, and discuss whether you may qualify for financial compensation. We offer free consultations at no risk or obligation to you. This means you decide to take legal action or not. If you decide to move forward, you will not be charged for our services unless we help you win your case.
HOW DOES TRUVADA WORK?
Truvada is an anti-HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication that is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc. It was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July of 2012 as a once-daily pill to help stop individuals from contracting HIV during sexual intercourse or drug injection. While it is used to prevent an HIV-1 infection in those with a high risk of becoming infected, it can also be used to treat those who are already infected with HIV-1, in combination with other drugs. However, it does not cure it.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune cells, which work to fight off infections. Truvada is a combination of two different HIV treatment medications: emtricitabine and tenofovir. These drugs help block important pathways that viruses use to set up an infection. The presence of Truvada in the bloodstream is meant to stop the virus from establishing itself and slow the speed of HIV growth in the body.
When individuals take Truvada to prevent HIV infection, doctors refer to it as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. You must be HIV-negative before you start and while taking Truvada for PrEP and must get tested for HIV before and at least every three months while taking the medication. The pill must be taken every day with or without food alongside other safer sex practices. An estimated 136,000 Americans are currently using Truvada for PrEP.
TRUVADA SIDE EFFECTS
After taking Truvada on a regular basis, many individuals have reported numerous side effects. These include:
- Abnormal dreams
- Difficulty breathing
- Fatigue or weakness
- Itching or skin rash
- Muscle or joint pain
- Stomach pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends calling your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away after the first month of taking Truvada. This includes any unusual problems while taking the medication, such as fever or chills in combination with a sore throat, cough, rash or other signs of an infection.
ADVERSE REACTIONS LINKED TO SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS
Truvada has been linked to adverse health conditions causing serious, life-threatening complications. These include severe liver problems, kidney problems and kidney failure, lactic acidosis, and decreased bone density and osteoporosis.
Taking the medication can lead to severe liver problems including, but not limited to yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, as well as stomach area pain. In rare cases, this medication may cause kidney failure, which can lead to death.
KIDNEY PROBLEMS AND KIDNEY FAILURE
Truvada was designed to be taken in high doses for a long period of time and since it is up to the kidneys to remove this drug from the body, there is a great deal of stress on the kidneys. This strain can lead to kidney problems including kidney damage and, if left untreated, can progress into kidney failure, which can be deadly. Symptoms of kidney failure include the following:
- Decreased urine
- Easy bleeding
- Itchy skin or eyes
- Lowered mental alertness
- Muscle cramps
- Numb sensation
- Poor digestion
- Skin color changes
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble concentrating
Individuals should have their blood and urine tested to check their kidneys before taking this medication.
DECREASED BONE DENSITY AND OSTEOPOROSIS
Another serious complication after taking Truvada is a decrease in bone density. This can lead to a medical condition known as osteoporosis. This is a bone disease that causes the bones to become weak and brittle. High dosages of the medication over prolonged periods of time can cause toxicity that results in structural deterioration of bones.
Loss of bone density, including softening or thinning of the bone, can also increase the risk of fractures, broken bones, discomfort in the extremities, muscular pain or weakness, and persistent or worsening bone pain.
Too much lactic acid in the blood can cause serious complications, including death. Since Truvada can cause a strain on the kidneys, which can cause the kidneys to not work as well as they should, they may fail to remove the accumulation of lactate in the bloodstream. This creates the following symptoms of lactic acidosis:
- Cold or blue hands or feet
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fast breathing or shortness of breath
- Fast or abnormal heartbeat
- Stomach pain
- Unusual muscle pain
If you have suffered one or more of these serious complications, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses. Schedule a free consultation with the trusted defective drug lawyers at our firm. You may be able to file a Truvada lawsuit.
AM I ENTITLED TO FILE A TRUVADA LAWSUIT?
Truvada lawsuits have been filed against Gilead Sciences, Inc. A personal injury lawsuit and a separate class action lawsuit were filed in May of 2018 by California HIV patients in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.
These lawsuits make various allegations against the drug manufacturer, such as:
- Manufacturing a defective product and knowing as early as 2001 that TDF was highly toxic and patients risked permanent and possibly fatal damage to the kidneys, liver and bones
- Failing to inform the public of all the potential side effects associated with the medication
- Intentionally delaying the development of a less toxic-version of TDF in order to maximize profits
- Failing to warn that Truvada has low bioavailability, which means the drug is not absorbed very well – the medication needs to be ingested at high doses in order to provide the promised antiviral effect
- Misleading or downplaying the serious risks involved in taking Truvada to doctors and patients
To determine if you are entitled to file a Truvada lawsuit, our lawyers will review several factors and attempt to answer various questions:
- Was the Truvada medication defective?
- Was the Truvada medication known to be unreasonably dangerous?
- Did Gilead Sciences fail to comply with federal standards?
- Did Gilead Sciences know of Truvada’s side effects and adverse reactions, but failed to provide proper warnings?
- Did negligence play a part in your injury or illness?
By filing a Truvada lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for the medical expenses you have incurred and are likely to incur in the future, lost wages and loss of earning capacity due to your condition and being unable to work, and the physical pain and mental suffering you have endured.
CONTACT OUR SKILLED ATTORNEYS
At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, our skilled defective drug attorneys have experience representing individuals who have been hurt by a drug company’s wrongdoing. When a company manufactures a defective drug and fails to adequately warn about the drug’s risks, it should be held accountable for its actions. Filing a lawsuit may be the only way to obtain the compensation you deserve. Talking to an attorney is just the first step toward potentially taking legal action for the injuries you or a loved one has suffered.
Learn more about your rights by scheduling a free, no obligation consultation with our team today. We can review your case and see if you qualify to move forward with the legal process. We also work on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs to worry about. You only pay us if we help you get compensation.