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Information about Tivicay▼

What is it and what is it used for?

Tivicay is an antiviral medicine containing the active substance dolutegravir. It is used together with other medicines to treat adults and children from 6 years of age who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), a virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

How Tivicay works
The active substance in Tivicay, dolutegravir, is an integrase inhibitor. This is an antiviral medicine that blocks an enzyme called integrase that is needed by the HIV virus to make new copies of itself in the body. When it is given with other medicines, Tivicay helps to prevent the spread of HIV and keep the amount of the virus in the blood at a low level. Tivicay does not cure HIV infection or AIDS, but it may hold off damage to the immune system and the development of infections and diseases associated with AIDS.

How Tivicay is used
Tivicay can only be obtained with a prescription and should be prescribed by a doctor who is experienced in managing HIV infection.

Tivicay is available as tablets (10, 25 and 50 mg). The adult dose depends on whether the infection is known or suspected to be resistant to medicines of the class to which Tivicay belongs (integrase inhibitors).

  • In patients whose virus is not resistant to integrase inhibitors, the usual dose is one 50-mg tablet a day; however, when given with certain medicines that decrease the effectiveness of Tivicay the dose is increased to one 50 mg tablet twice a day.
  • The dose is one 50-mg tablet twice a day in patients whose virus is known or suspected to be resistant to integrase inhibitors; in these patients, giving Tivicay with medicines that decrease its effectiveness should be avoided.
Although Tivicay can normally be taken with or without food, patients whose virus is resistant to this class of medicines should take Tivicay with food as it helps the medicine to get absorbed.

The dose for children 6 to 12 years old depends on the weight of the child; for those aged 12 and over it is usually one 50-mg tablet a day.

For further information, see the package leaflet.

What are the benefits?

The European Medicine Agency decided that Tivicay’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be approved for use in the EU. The Agency concluded that the medicine had demonstrated its effectiveness in both untreated and previously treated patients, including those with resistance to integrase inhibitors. The medicine was generally well tolerated, although the Agency noted the possible risk of infrequent but severe hypersensitivity reactions.

What are main side effects?

The most common side effects with Tivicay (which may affect more than 1 in 10 people) are nausea (feeling sick), diarrhoea, and headache. More serious adverse effects that have been reported include an uncommon but severe hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction with rash and possible effects on the liver.

For the full list of all side effects reported with Tivicay, see the package leaflet.

Who should avoid taking it?

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating preliminary results from a study which found 4 cases of birth defects such as spina bifida (malformed spinal cord) in babies born to mothers who became pregnant while taking dolutegravir. While EMA is assessing the new evidence it has issued the following precautionary advice:
  • Dolutegravir HIV medicines should not be prescribed to women seeking to become pregnant.
  • Women who can become pregnant should use effective contraception while taking dolutegravir medicines.

Tivicay must not be given together with dofetilide, a medicine for disturbances of heart rhythm, as it may cause serious side effects. In addition, the dose of Tivicay may need to be adjusted if certain medicines are taken at the same time.

For the full list of restrictions, see the package leaflet.

What studies have been done?

Tivicay was demonstrated to be effective against HIV-1 in four main studies in adults. The main measure of effectiveness in all the studies was the response rate, which was the proportion of patients with a reduction of the levels of virus (viral load) in the blood to fewer than 50 copies of HIV-1 RNA per ml.

Two studies involved patients who had not previously been treated for HIV:

  • In the first of these, involving 822 patients, Tivicay once daily was compared with raltegravir (another integrase inhibitor), both given in combination with two other HIV medicines of a different class (known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors or NRTIs): 88% (361 of 411 patients) given Tivicay and 85% (351 of 411) given raltegravir responded after 48 weeks of treatment.
  • The second study involved 833 patients given either a combination of Tivicay with two NRTIs or a different three-drug combination (Atripla) that did not include an integrase inhibitor. The response rate at 48 weeks was 88% (364 of 414 patients) in those given Tivicay-based treatment compared with 81% (338 of 419 patients) in those given Atripla.
Two other studies looked at the effectiveness of Tivicay in patients whose previous HIV treatment had stopped working:

  • The first of these involved 715 patients whose previous treatment had not included an integrase inhibitor and whose infection was therefore not expected to be resistant to this class of medicines. Patients were treated with a combination of HIV medicines that included either Tivicay or raltegravir. Response rate at 48 weeks was 71% in patients given treatment based on Tivicay, and 64% in those given treatment based on raltegravir.
  • The second study in previously treated patients involved 183 patients with infection resistant to previous treatment that had involved an integrase inhibitor (i.e. their infection was resistant to several classes of medicine, including previous integrase inhibitors): adding Tivicay twice daily to other treatment resulted in a response rate of 69% after 24 weeks of therapy.
Supportive data from an ongoing study in children and adolescents indicated that adolescents could be given the adult dose of Tivicay. The company subsequently presented available results in 23 children from 6 to less than 12 years of age, who were given doses of Tivicay based on their body weight. The results indicated that similar levels of the medicine were produced in children to those seen in adults and adolescents, which should result in similar effectiveness.


Tivicay was first approved for use in the EU in 2014. It is manufactured by ViiV.

European Medicines Agency website page for Tivicay (accessed 25/06/18)

Links available in External Resources

New medicines and vaccines that are under additional monitoring have an inverted black triangle symbol (▼) displayed in their package leaflet and summary of product characteristics, together with a short sentence explaining what the triangle means – it does not mean the medicine is unsafe. You should report all suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) for these products. ADRs can be reported by your doctor, pharmacist or online via the Yellow Card system.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions (side effects) after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals or patients are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Disclaimer: This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only. The health information furnished on this site and the interactive responses are not intended to be professional advice and are not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. We cannot provide individual medical advice. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.

For the full list of side effects and restrictions, see the package leaflet (link to package leaflet available in External Resources).