For individuals who either live with or are at risk of contracting HIV, a medication that provides both (partial) treatment of HIV symptoms and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against getting the disease in the first place can seem like the answer to all of your worries. With Gilead’s medication Truvada, taking one pill a day was supposed to allow you to live your life confidently, without the constant anxiety that you’re likely to develop this devastating condition. Unfortunately, Truvada, like all medications, has the potential to cause side effects, some of which may be serious.
Certain side effects—alleged increases in the risk of kidney problems and bone problems—have prompted plaintiffs to file Truvada lawsuits seeking compensation for the harms they are reporting. If you believe that you may have suffered serious adverse events due to taking this PrEP medication, here’s what you need to know about the ongoing Truvada litigation.
Generally, the claims against Truvada’s manufacturer Gilead Sciences involve one of two types of alleged adverse effects: kidney damage and bone loss problems.
Either of these problems can have significant impacts on an individual’s life, and both could potentially have deadly consequences.
The kidneys perform an essential function in the body, cleansing waste from the blood and producing urine. Kidney failure may be able to be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant, but patients who are on kidney failure with replacement therapy are still likely to die prematurely, according to the National Kidney Foundation, which reported that more than 100,000 of these patients lost their lives in 2018.
Loss of bone density can lead to fractures that otherwise would not have occurred—fractures that result from minor falls, coughing, or even just bending over. These fractures can interfere with your life, require surgery and physical therapy, and potentially even lead to life-threatening complications, particularly as you get older. Broken bones in elderly patients are associated with an increased risk of death that lasts up to 10 years, according to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the tenofovir and emtricitabine medications found in Truvada work by stopping the viruses that cause HIV from establishing themselves in the user’s body. Both bone problems and kidney problems, including kidney failure, are listed among the “serious side effects” that may result from taking Truvada, according to Gilead’s official website for the medication.
According to Law360, some of the allegations made in Truvada injury lawsuits filed by users of the medication included the following claims:
Since the litigation is still ongoing, it remains unclear how judges and juries will rule on these allegations.
The first Truvada lawsuits were filed in May 2018, and these legal matters are ongoing. Lawsuits pertaining to alleged kidney damage and bone loss problems have also been filed over other HIV medications produced by Gilead, including Atripla, Complera, Genvoya, Stribild, and Viread. All told, Gilead is reportedly facing thousands of lawsuits filed by users of its medications.
Truvada lawsuit bellwether trials are scheduled to begin taking place in 2022. In the meantime, it’s not too late for Truvada users to file new claims involving kidney damage and bone loss diagnoses that have been made within the statute of limitations.
If you’re a current Truvada user, it’s best to speak to your physician about any concerns you have. Truvada generally must be taken daily to be effective at preventing HIV infection, so please don’t stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor. However, you can ask your physician about your level of risk for kidney damage and bone loss, as well as what can be done to monitor and assess your risks and whether any alternative treatments may be a better fit for you.
Truvada patients who have current or past kidney or bone loss problems, or who have a reason to suspect that they may be suffering from kidney damage or bone loss now, should consider speaking to an attorney as well as their doctors. A knowledgeable Truvada injury lawyer can advise you of your legal rights, answer any questions you have about the claims process, and review your situation for free to determine if you may have the grounds for a claim.