Descovy (emtricitabine/tenofovir) prescription available online 

If you are suffering from HIV or at risk of developing HIV infection, Descovy for PrEP can help. Get a new prescription or refill of Descovy from a board-certified doctor online.*

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*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor’s discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how you can save up to 80% with our prescription discount card.

About Descovy for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)

Descovy is considered a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, a combination antiretroviral medication that blocks the HIV infection from entering the body’s cells. Active ingredients in Descovy are two antiretroviral drugs called emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide.

Like any antiretroviral agent, this medication can only be used for lowering HIV risk, i.e. preventing HIV or treating HIV infection in conjunction with other medicines. Descovy is ineffective in protecting people exposed to HIV infection through vaginal sex because its effectiveness hasn’t been studied.

Some conditions that Descovy is known to treat include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people at risk of getting HIV infection. It can help treat HIV in combination with other HIV medications. Descovy is available only by prescription. It is available in a generic formulation under different brand names, including Truvada.

Descovy may be prescribed as a film-coated tablet. It’s always important to follow the specific instructions on your prescription, as they can vary based on the formulation and dosage you are prescribed.

If you are prescribed Descovy, complete the entire course of the antiretroviral medication unless your doctor specifically tells you to stop.

If you don’t complete your Descovy prescription, the antiretroviral drug may not fully protect you against HIV infection.

Descovy for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) uses

There are two FDA-approved uses for Descovy, but it may also be used off-label to treat other conditions. Your online healthcare provider may prescribe Descovy for the following reasons. It’s also possible that your healthcare provider may prescribe this nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for other reasons not listed here. Ask your online healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about why a medication is prescribed.

  • HIV-1 treatment

    FDA approved Descovy for treating HIV-1 infection, but only in combination with other HIV medications. Descovy is approved for use in adults and pediatric patients who weigh at least 35kg (77lbs).

    Descovy is also indicated in combination with other antiretroviral medications other than protease inhibitors that require a CYP3A inhibitor for HIV-1 infection treatment in pediatric patients who weigh at least 25kg (55lbs) but less than 35kg.

  • HIV-1 Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

    Descovy is also approved by FDA as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medicine taken to prevent HIV. Emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide i.e. Descovy is approved for adults and adolescents who weigh at least 35kg. In this case, the main goal of Descovy is to lower the risk of HIV-1 infection from sexual exposure.

    However, Descovy is not meant to prevent HIV-1 infection in women i.e. individuals at risk from receptive vaginal sex. Immediately before initiating Descovy for HIV-1 prevention, a person should have a negative HIV-1 test.

Descovy for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) side effects

The side effects associated with taking Descovy are typically mild to severe. Most Descovy side effects are associated with gastrointestinal discomfort and weakness.

  • Descovy has some common side effects. They may include:

    • General feeling of malaise (headache, fatigue, dizziness, weakness)

    • Gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain)

    • Depression

    • Insomnia

    • Stuffy nose

    • Cough

    • Kidney problems

    • Weight gain

    • High blood sugar levels

    • Glucose in the urine

    • Blood in the urine

    • Muscle aches and joint pain

    • Numbness or burning pain in hands or feet

    • Anemia (pediatric patients)

    Other side effects, which are less common but might be more severe, could include:

    • Lactic acidosis

    • Pancreatitis

    • Severe liver problems

    • Worsening of hepatitis B

    • Immune reconstitution syndrome

    • Neutropenia (low white blood cells)

    • New-onset autoimmune disorders

    • Kidney toxicity, which may lead to kidney failure

    • Angioedema (swelling under skin and mucus membranes of eyes, face, and lips)

    You should call your healthcare provider if you notice any of these side effects or develop any other new or concerning symptoms.

How to take Descovy for PrEP

Your pharmacist will provide you with instructions on how to take your Descovy prescription.

Read your prescription label and follow the instructions or medication guide. Call your healthcare provider or pharmacy if you have any questions.

Descovy can come in different forms and doses, so follow the specific instructions on your prescription. It is typically prescribed for adults and adolescents once a day. Some specific instructions may include taking the tablet at the same time every day.

What to avoid while taking Descovy for PrEP

Descovy has 210 drug interactions. Some of the most significant drug interactions include certain anticonvulsants, high doses of NSAIDs, medications for treating hepatitis B, some protease inhibitors, and others.

Don’t change your actions without checking with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. That includes other medications or supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal products.

It is essential to adhere to the healthcare provider’s instructions when taking Descovy. Make sure to inform a healthcare provider if you have liver problems, bone problems, kidney problems, allergies, or other health conditions that may affect how Descovy works.

Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if it is acceptable to consume alcohol while taking Descovy.

Some research shows that regular alcohol consumption may not interfere with Descovy. However, heavy use of alcohol is not a good idea. Alcohol may also affect a person’s adherence to Descovy and thereby lead to missed doses.

Medication alternatives to Descovy for PrEP

If your healthcare provider prefers to put you on another treatment, they may suggest another nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for HIV prevention or treatment or an antiretroviral drug in another drug class. Here are some common doctor-recommended alternatives based on your health issue:

  • HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

  • HIV treatment (in combination with other medications)

    Ziagen (abacavir)

    Emtriva (emtricitabine)

    Epivir (lamivudine)

    Retrovir (zidovudine)

    Edurant (rilpivirine)

    Sustiva (efavirenz)

    Aptivus (tipranavir)

    Norvir (ritonavir)

    Lexviva (fosamprenavir)

    Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine)

    Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine)

    Cabenuva (cabotegravir and rilpivirine)

Descovy for PrEP prescription FAQs

  • How much does Descovy cost?

    The cost of Descovy may vary from one pharmacy to another. The price for a 30-day Descovy supply is around $2,156 or goes up to $2,400 and higher. In most cases, the costs of Descovy aren’t below $2,000. However, there are programs that make it possible for patients to get Descovy at a discounted price.

  • How can I refill my Descovy prescription?

    You can refill the Descovy prescription by scheduling an appointment with one of our top rated board-certified doctors. After a qualifying evaluation, the doctor can then order the refill, which you can pick up at your local pharmacy.

  • When is the best time to take Descovy?

    It is recommended to take Descovy once a day. There is no specific time of day that is considered best. Instead, you should focus on taking the Descovy tablet at the same time every day.

  • What should not be taken with Descovy?

    Descovy shouldn’t be taken with medications for the treatment of hepatitis B virus infection (adefovir), high doses of NSAIDs, certain anticonvulsants, and some herbal or nutritional supplements such as St. John’s wort. You shouldn’t take the drug with medications that may harm the kidneys such as aminoglycosides like amikacin/gentamicin.

    Descovy can reduce the effectiveness of some other HIV medicines such as protease inhibitor medication called atazanavir. It does so by decreasing blood levels. Patients taking atazanavir with Descovy may also need to use ritonavir to avoid side effects.

  • Can you take Descovy on an empty stomach?

    You can take Descovy with or without food. You can take it on an empty stomach or after a meal. There is no specific requirement that says you should take Descovy only with food or on an empty stomach.

    The most important thing is to take Descovy at the same time every day.

    The best thing to do is to adhere to the instructions provided by a healthcare provider. They will explain how to take Descovy and when.

  • Who should not take Descovy?

    People who are allergic to Descovy or any of its ingredients shouldn’t take this medicine. You shouldn’t take the medication if you have kidney or liver problems, and people who already have HIV-1 infection.

    Keep in mind that Descovy is meant for pre-exposure prophylaxis in people who do not have HIV to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Taking this nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor when you already have HIV-1 infection can make the virus resistant to the therapy meaning Descovy wouldn’t be able to treat it effectively.

    It is unknown whether Descovy is safe to take during pregnancy. You shouldn’t take it unless the healthcare provider specifies otherwise. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid taking Descovy because one of its active ingredients, emtricitabine, passes into breast milk.

    Pediatric patients who don't weigh at least 35kg shouldn't use Descovy as well.

  • What happens if I miss a dose of Descovy?

    First, don’t panic. Missing one dose of Descovy doesn’t significantly reduce the level of protection. Do your best to take the medication regularly.

    If you miss a dose of Descovy, take a missed dose as soon as you remember. A good rule is that if you have missed a dose and it hasn’t been more than 12 hours since you’re scheduled to take it, you should take Descovy as soon as you think about it.

    But, if it’s close to the next dose i.e. it’s been more than 12 hours since you’re scheduled to take the Descovy pill, you should skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule.

    Avoid taking a double dose of Descovy because it doesn’t increase the effectiveness of PrEP. Instead, it increases the risk of side effects.

    If you can’t take the daily dose of Descovy at the usual time, try to take it as close to the same time as possible.

  • What happens if I take too much Descovy?

    If you take too much Descovy makes sure to contact your healthcare professional, go to the emergency room, or contact your local Poison Control Center immediately. Taking too much Descovy could lead to serious side effects like lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis refers to the buildup of lactic acid in your bloodstream. In the most severe cases, taking too much Descovy can be fatal.

3 simple steps to request your Descovy prescription today 

Step 1

Book a visit with a doctor to discuss Descovy.

During your first visit, your PlushCare doctor will review your medical history and health goals.

Step 2

Talk to your physician regarding Descovy medication.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer. Lab work is required, and they’ll send an order to your preferred lab or deliver a lab kit to your home. Once your results are available, your doctor will review them and discuss all treatment options.

Step 3

Pick up your Descovy medication, if prescribed.

Prescriptions are provided based on eligibility and safety.  Our physicians will prescribe medications and monitor your kidney function while taking PrEP.

Descovy prescription pricing details

How pricing works

To get a new or refill on your Descovy prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

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  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.


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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.