Truvada is a popular antiretroviral medication used to control human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that is prescribed to patients around the world. Unfortunately, it can also cause serious bone and kidney problems that can be life-threatening. If you have been taking this drug and have developed these or other adverse side effects, you may have a products liability claim against the drug’s manufacturer.
How Does Truvada Work?
Truvada contains the active ingredient tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and is used to treat HIV and prevent it from developing into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). It works by decreasing the amount of virus in patients and improving their immune systems. While it will not cure a patient of disease, it can reduce the risks of developing complications that are associated with HIV and stop the spread of the virus in the body. It has also been prescribed as a preventive measure in high-risk populations. This is referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.
Many medications containing TDF are manufactured by Gilead Science, Inc. Some of the drugs that contain TDF include:
- Truvada (the most common)
- AccessPak for HIV PEP Expanded with Kaletra
- AccessPak for HIV PEP Expanded with Viracept
Truvada Affects Bone Density and Kidney Function
Many patients who have taken Truvada and other medications containing TDF have developed serious medical problems and chronic illnesses that can be life-threatening. They include the following:
Low Bone Density
Studies have linked regular use of drugs containing TDF to loss of bone mineral density. This can cause patients to suffer medical conditions such as osteoporosis, progressive bone and joint pain, and pain in their arms, legs, hands, and arms.
When there is a loss of bone density, a person’s bones will become more brittle and more likely to fracture. Patients taking Truvada are at higher risk of fractures to their arm, leg, hand, and foot bones, and medical complications associated with these fractures.
The chemicals in Truvada and other medications containing TDF can clog the kidneys’ filtration functions. This can cause patients to suffer reduced kidney function and other health problems, such as the buildup of lactic acid in their blood, which can be fatal if not treated.
Patients taking drugs with TDF have been found to suffer a higher rate of kidney failure. The risk is even higher for patients of color or those who have a history of kidney damage.
Lawsuits Being Filed Against Gilead Science
Drug companies have a duty to develop safe drugs and to warn patients of potentially harmful side effects of their medications. In April 2018, 41 patients from 21 states filed a lawsuit against Gilead Science claiming that they suffered bone and kidney damage after taking the manufacturer’s drugs containing TDF. Other personal injury lawsuits have also been filed against the company. Following are some of the claims against Gilead Science.
Failure To Warn of Truvada’s Risks
In the lawsuits, patients allege that Gilead Science knew of the health risks of Truvada and other TDF-containing medications as early as 2001. At that time, they acknowledged that the drugs were “highly toxic” if taken in the recommended dosage and that the medications could cause “permanent and possibly fatal damage to the kidneys and bones.” Patients claim that Gilead Science failed to adequately warn them of the serious risks of the drugs.
Misrepresentation of Drugs Containing TDF
The lawsuits allege that Gilead Science actively misrepresented the benefits of TDF-containing medications and their risks. This is substantiated by warning letters from the FDA to Gilead Science about their claims that that the drug was nontoxic and their failure to accurately disclose the potential side effects in their advertisements.
Failure To Develop a Safer Drug
Gilead Science had developed a safer TDF-containing medication called enofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF). In clinical studies, it did not harm bones and kidneys like Truvada. However, the company did not begin selling the drug for over a decade. The lawsuits allege that Gilead Science did this until the patent on Truvada and other similar medications expired in order to maximize its profits instead of providing safer drugs to patients.
Contact an Experienced Truvada Attorney
If you or a family member suffered bone loss or kidney damage while taking Truvada or other drugs containing TDF, our experienced mass tort attorneys are here to help you take the next steps to protect your right to compensation for your injuries. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will owe us no attorney fees until we win your case. To get your questions answered and learn about our experience in these and other mass tort cases, call our office directly at (706) 863-6600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.