UK icon
UK Registered Pharmacy
head shoulders icon
Friendly Patient Support
padlocks icon
Confidential Service
Prep

For delivery by
Order within:
Next Day delivery also available

Descovy

Descovy is a drug that was first manufactured for the treatment of HIV. However, in 2019, the DISCOVER PrEP clinical study aimed to investigate whether it could be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis – commonly known as PrEP. The trial was a success, and in October 2019, the FDA approved a PrEP guideline for Descovy.


View the Patient Information Leaflet


Patient Information Leaflet Reviewed - 10/02/2020


This medicine is not yet available to request via our online service. If you are still having trouble with your symptoms please visit the NHS website for services in your area.

Online consulting and prescribing service
Dispensing of prescriptions and supply of medicine
Secure SSL Encryption
Dr. Daniel Cichi GMC No. 6163403

Dr Daniel Cichi has 20 years experience as a doctor and now he is a senior GP. He worked in A&E departments, GP surgeries and on cruise ships.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running online pharmacies in the UK.

Descovy PrEP

When most people hear the word PrEP, they think of Truvada – a mix of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil that’s been used for several years now to prevent HIV infection in people that are deemed to be at-risk.

However, the way we think of PrEP may be set to change, as newer drug Descovy has now been approved by the FDA for use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Gilead, (the manufacturer or both Truvada and Descovy) conducted the DISCOVER clinical trial, which looked at the effectiveness of Descovy when used as PrEP amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) and a small number of transgender women. The results showed that both Truvada and Descovy were as effective as each other, with both drugs being over 99% successful at preventing HIV in those at risk.

So far, only the daily method of taking Descovy has been investigated in terms of PrEP, and no studies have been carried out with those that were assigned female at birth (AFAB), or those who are at risk of acquiring HIV via receptive vaginal sex.

What is Descovy

Descovy is a drug that was first approved by the FDA in 2016 for treatment of HIV-1 infection, when used alongside other medications. It contains emtricitabine and tenofovir alfenamide – a newer formulation of tenofovir that’s been shown to have fewer negative effects on bones and kidneys.

It works in the same way as Truvada, both for the treatment of HIV-1, and for the prevention of it, as both medications use similar formulations and are classed as antiretroviral drugs.

Descovy is currently only available as a branded medication, unlike Truvada which can be bought as generic emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil.

What is the difference between Truvada and Descovy?

Truvada and Descovy are very similar medications, with a few subtle differences between them, one of which being the formulation of tenofovir that’s used in each drug. Truvada uses tenofovir disoproxil, whilst Descovy uses the newer formulation of tenofovir alfenamide. However, both drugs work in the same way to prevent HIV infection.

As we’ve already seen from the DISCOVER study, Descovy has been deemed as equal to Truvada in terms of efficacy, being both “non-inferior” and “non-superior”, however, it was found that Descovy produced fewer adverse effects when it came to bones and kidneys. This is due to the fact that Descovy uses the newer formulation of tenofovir alfenamide, which has been shown to be more beneficial for those with bone and kidney issues. This suggests that Descovy may be a good alternative to Truvada for those with osteoporosis or poor kidney function.

On the other hand, Descovy was also found to have the potential of causing weight gain in some patients, as well as a small increase of LDL cholesterol, so it may not be recommended for patients that are obese or that already have some degree of cardiovascular risk factors, as the drug may contribute further to these and cause more health issues. For patients in this position, Truvada may be the better option, as in studies, it was found to reduce weight in some patients.

Truvada is the older drug, which also means that it’s had chance to go through more clinical trials than Descovy. This means that Truvada has the advantage of having more information surrounding its use as PrEP, including efficacy in AFAB patients, as well as various dosage options.

Descovy side effects

Descovy does still come with side effects, even if kidney and bone-related effects are reduced. However, many of the side effects are similar to Truvada’s. Some of the side effects outlined in the patient information leaflet include:

  • Nausea
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Wind
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Low red blood cell count
  • Dyspepsia
  • Angioedema
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Joint pain

Is Descovy better than Truvada?

At the moment, there isn’t enough information to say whether Descovy is better than Truvada, as it has only just been approved for use as PrEP. It’s also important to note that “better” is subjective when it comes to situations like these. In terms of bone and kidney health, Descovy may be a better option for those with pre-existing conditions or risk factors that affect bones or kidneys, but when it comes to weight and cardiovascular risk factors, Truvada may prevail as the most appropriate option for PrEP. Ultimately, it’s down to your own doctor to make the decision on which medication is best for you based on your medical history.

Descovy UK

Descovy is currently only available in the UK as a treatment for HIV-1 infection, and not as PrEP. Approval from the FDA only affects guidelines for the drug in the USA, meaning that Descovy can’t yet be prescribed for PrEP in the UK unless it’s prescribed off-label – a decision that’s down to each individual doctor.

Descovy isn’t as common in the UK as Truvada, with only 23 NHS prescriptions for it in the last 12 months, compared to 74 prescriptions for Truvada. However, due to the current prescribing guidelines in the UK, it can only be assumed that these prescriptions are for the treatment of HIV-1 rather than the prevention of it.

It’s possible that the UK’s NICE guidelines will follow the FDA’s lead with approving Descovy for PrEP, but it might be a while before we see any movement on this, especially as the IMPACT trial is still ongoing, which uses generic Truvada.

Switching from Truvada to Descovy

Switching from Truvada to Descovy may take some time if you live in the UK, as it isn’t yet licenced for pre-exposure prophylaxis. However, if you’re currently taking Truvada and have a pre-existing bone or kidney condition, it may be worth talking to your own GP about the possibility of using Descovy off-label.

Unfortuantely, PrEP isn’t yet available on the NHS in England, so you may need to seek a private GP who would be happy to prescribe it to you, but with Descovy only available in branded form, it may cost more than your current PrEP prescription.

Dosage Instructions
Take ONE tablet ONCE daily
Write Your Own Review
You're reviewing:Descovy
No Questions

Delivery Charges

The following delivery methods are currently available within the UK: All orders are sent in discreet, plain packaging.

UK Standard Delivery, £1.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Tracked 48 Service

standard UK delivery within 3-5 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

UK Express Delivery, £2.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using the Express delivery service* (deliveries are made Monday - Saturday)

If you order after 12pm, your order will be dispatched the next working day and will be with you within 48 hours once dispatched. This excludes weekends and bank holidays

Additional terms and conditions apply.

Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Anytime, £4.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Special Delivery Service, which includes Saturday deliveries.

Additional terms and conditions apply.

Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Before 1pm, £7.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 1pm next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

Additional terms and conditions apply.

Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Before 9am, £14.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 9am next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Next Day Delivery, £4.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Next Day Delivery, by 12 Noon, £9.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12 noon the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Next Day Delivery, by 10:30am, £14.99  (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Saturday Delivery, £14.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply

DPD Saturday Delivery, by 12:00am, £21.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12:00am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply.

DPD Saturday Delivery, by 10:30am, £29.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

Additional terms and conditions apply, please see below.

US and outside the UK

Unfortunately, we can't process orders from outside the UK at this time.


Terms and Conditions

Delivery options exclude Bank Holidays, public holidays and Sundays.All deliveries are subject to Doctor-4-u successfully receiving payment and prescription being approved by the doctor.

All purchases require additional approval, which will involve completion of an online questionnaire and any subsequent approval.

Out of stock