Recent research published by the Oxford University Press shows that Truvada, the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug to prevent HIV, is safe. According to the study, this drug doesn’t pose health risks that are more extreme than taking aspirin daily. Many people use aspirin to prevent gastrointestinal diseases and even heart attacks.
Since Truvada got approved in 2012, critics cautioned consumers about the side effects of the pill, including kidney failure and drug resistance. But the report, which is based on a research by the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles gave the following numbers needed to harm (NNH) results:
- 114 for nausea in gay, transgender women, and bisexual men
- 96 for unexpected weight loss for the same group of people
- 68 for decreased absolute neutrophil count
Meanwhile, for aspirin…
- 909 for gastrointestinal bleeding
- 123 for any kind of gastrointestinal bleeding
- 15 for bleeding in men
- 10 for easy bruising for women
Based on the numbers, the study suggests that Truvada actually has fewer side effects than aspirin and is even considered safer. Of course, more research will be needed, but the results show that Truvada is not as scary as some of its detractors want the consumers to interpret.
The researchers of the study said in the press release that doctors should become more comfortable with prescribing Truvada. Accordingly, patients should also feel more comfortable in taking the pill. Based on the data provided by the research, it is possible that this PrEP drug may be available without needing a prescription in the future.