Triumeq

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2023

Triumeq is a combination antiretroviral therapy. It is used to treat HIV-1 in adults and children who weigh at least 22 pounds (10 kg). Triumeq may be used on its own or with other antiretroviral drugs.1

Triumeq is not a cure for HIV but taken as prescribed, it suppresses the virus. This allows the immune system to fight the virus by increasing the number of CD4 cells and lowering the amount of active virus in the blood. CD4 cells are white blood cells that help trigger the immune system to fight infection. The amount of active virus in the blood is also called viral load. A low viral load helps stop the spread of HIV to others.1,2

What are the ingredients in Triumeq?

Triumeq includes 3 drugs that fight HIV:1

  • Abacavir
  • Dolutegravir
  • Lamivudine

You should not take Triumeq if you have ever had a bad reaction to these ingredients. Abacavir and lamivudine are nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Dolutegravir is an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI, also known as an integrase inhibitor).1,2

How does Triumeq work?

Triumeq is a combination of two NRTI drugs and one integrase inhibitor. NRTIs stop part of the HIV life cycle. Without the right building blocks (DNA and RNA), the virus cannot grow by making copies of itself (replicating) inside your body. INSTIs prevent the DNA in HIV from latching onto host cells.1

What are the possible side effects?

Side effects can vary. The most common side effects of Triumeq include:1

  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

These are not all the possible side effects of Triumeq. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Triumeq. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Triumeq.

Other things to know

Triumeq has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because of the possibility of serious side effects as described below. Your doctor will talk to you about the very rare but serious side effects you should be on the lookout for. For example, people with the HLA-B*5701 gene mutation  are at high risk for experiencing an adverse reaction to Triumeq.2

Triumeq may not be the best choice for you if you have liver or kidney damage. Before starting Triumeq, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Have a history of problems with your:
    • Liver
    • Heart
    • Kidneys
  • Have a history of:
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Are a smoker
    • Drink alcohol or take medicine with alcohol in it

If you have HIV along with hepatitis B or C, your doctor should monitor your liver function while you are taking Triumeq.2

Triumeq may cause an increase of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis). Signs of liver issues include:2

  • Dark-colored urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes
  • Light-colored bowel movements

You should not take dofetilide if you are taking Triumeq.2

Triumeq may increase the risk of heart attack.2

Changes in your immune system may occur if you take Triumeq. This is called Immune Reconstruction Syndrome. Your immune system might become stronger and start to fight infections that were in your body but not active. It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you experience new symptoms after starting your medication.2

Before beginning treatment for HIV with Triumeq, be sure to tell your doctor about any other health conditions you have. Also tell your doctor about all other prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, herbs, and home remedies you take. Triumeq may not work as well when combined with other drugs.1

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You will need to take a pregnancy test before starting Triumeq. This drug may harm an unborn baby if taken early in pregnancy. You may need to take a different HIV drug during pregnancy.1

For more information, read the full prescribing information for Triumeq.

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