FTC (emtricitabine, Emtriva)

FTC (emtricitabine, Emtriva) is an antiviral drug that reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Anti-HIV drugs such as FTC slow down or prevent damage to the immune system, and reduce the risk of developing AIDS-related illnesses. FTC is also active against hepatitis B virus .

Emtricitabine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). When HIV infects a cell, the enzyme reverse transcriptase copies the viral single-stranded RNA genome into double-stranded viral DNA. This viral DNA is then integrated into the CD4 chromosomal DNA and can go on to reproduce in the body. Four natural nucleosides complete the DNA synthesis: adenosine, cytidine, quanosine, and thymidine. An NRTI drug substitutes a defective version of one of the nucleosides, causing premature termination of the proviral DNA chain.

FTC was developed by Triangle Pharmaceuticals and acquired by Gilead Pharmaceuticals in December 2002. FTC is marketed by Gilead as Emtriva. It was also marketed under the trade name Coviracil. Its chemical name is 2’,3’-dideoxy-5-fluoro-3’-thiacytidine.

FTC was authorised in the United States in July 2003 and in the European Union in October of that year. It was proposed, but has not been approved, as a therapy for hepatitis B.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in August 2004 that it had approved a once-daily combination tablet containing 200mg FTC and 300mg tenofovir. The combination tablet is marketed as Truvada by Gilead worldwide. Truvada was approved in the European Union in November 2004.

FTC is also available in a triple-drug combination tablet called Atripla. This is the first once-daily tablet containing a complete HIV treatment regimen. It contains 600mg efavirenz, 200mg FTC (emtricitabine), and 300mg tenofovir. It was approved in the United States in July 2006 and in the European Union in late 2007.