Intelence (Etravirine) - Oral

What Is Intelence?

Intelence (etravirine) is an antiretroviral medication used to treat human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in people aged 2 years and older. This medication is usually prescribed to people who have already tried other HIV treatments (treatment-experienced).

Intelence is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). NNRTIs bind to and block an enzyme called reverse transcriptase from converting HIV’s RNA into DNA. Without DNA, the virus cannot continue to replicate.

Intelence is available as a prescription oral tablet.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Etravirine

Brand Name(s): Intelence

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Antiretroviral agent

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Etravirine

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Intelence Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Intelence to treat HIV-1 infection in treatment-experienced people age 2 years and older, who have evidence of viral replication and HIV-1 strains resistant to NNRTIs or other antiretroviral agents. It must be used in combination with other antiretroviral agents.

HIV is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is transmitted through bodily fluids (e.g., blood, semen, vaginal fluids).

Intelence (Etravirine) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Intelence

Take Intelence following a meal to maximize the drug’s absorption.

If you have difficulty swallowing the tablets whole, you can disperse them in water using the following instructions:

  • Place tablet in 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of water, or enough water to cover the tablet
  • Stir until the water looks milky
  • If you want, you can add more water, milk, or orange juice (DO NOT use grapefruit juice, carbonated, or warm beverages)
  • Drink immediately after preparing
  • Rinse cup several times with water, milk, or orange juice, drinking the rinse each time to ensure you receive the entire dose

Storage

Store Intelence tablets at room temperature. Keep in the original container to protect from light and moisture.

Off-Label Uses

Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe medications for uses other than the FDA-approved indications. This is known as off-label use.

Intelence has been prescribed off-label for post-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of HIV. This means it is given after someone has been put at risk of infection.

How Long Does Intelence Take to Work?

People who respond to combination HIV antiretroviral therapy with Intelence should see a benefit after two weeks.

What Are the Side Effects of Intelence?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Intelence in adults include:

Common side effects in children include:

  • Rash
  • Diarrhea

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

Report Side Effects

Intelence may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Intelence Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For HIV infection:
      • Adults—200 milligrams (mg) (one 200 mg tablet or two 100 mg tablets) taken 2 times a day.
      • Children 2 to 17 years of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
        • Weighing 30 kilograms (kg) or more—200 mg taken 2 times a day.
        • Weighing 25 kg to less than 30 kg—150 mg taken 2 times a day.
        • Weighing 20 kg to less than 25 kg—125 mg taken 2 times a day.
        • Weighing 10 kg to less than 20 kg—100 mg taken 2 times a day.
      • Children younger than 2 years of age and weighing less than 10 kg—Use is not recommended.

Modifications

Tell your healthcare provider if you have liver problems, including hepatitis B or C, before you start Intelence.

You should also let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. There are no well-controlled studies of Intelence in pregnancy. You and your healthcare provider should weigh the decision to use Intelence during pregnancy with potentially unknown risks and benefits to the pregnant person and fetus.

In animal studies, no treatment-related adverse effects on the fetuses were observed. If you are pregnant and taking Intelence, consider registering in the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry, which monitors maternal-fetal outcomes in pregnant people using Intelence.

It is not known if Intelence can pass through human breast milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends against breastfeeding if you have HIV to avoid transmission to the infant.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Intelence within six hours of the time it’s usually taken, take it as soon as possible after a meal. If it is more than six hours past the usual dosing time, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Intelence?

Overdose symptoms may include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and psychiatric disturbances. There is no specific antidote for overdoses with Intelence. Treatment should be symptomatic and supportive. Administration of activated charcoal may be useful for overdoses caught early.

What Happens If I Overdose on Intelence?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Intelence, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t wake up after taking too much Intelence, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe skin rash, or fever or chills while using this medicine.

Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have a fever, chills, cough, sore throat, swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin, or yellow skin or eyes while using this medicine. These could be symptoms of a serious condition called drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS).

This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you or your child notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area, or a loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face.

Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis. Autoimmune disorders (eg, Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) may also occur.

This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.

Do not take any other medicines without checking first with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements. To do so may increase the chance of side effects from etravirine.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Intelence?

You should not take Intelence while you are breastfeeding. Intelence can pass to the baby through breast milk. Additionally, the CDC recommends against breastfeeding if you have HIV to avoid transmitting it to the infant.

What Other Medications Interact With Intelence?

Intelence interacts with many other medications. Taking Intelence with other drugs can affect the concentrations of other drugs and vice versa. This can lead to reduced therapeutic effect or greater exposure to one of the drugs taken, leading to side effects.

This list is not exhaustive but contains the most commonly encountered drug interactions.

Drugs that can reduce how well Intelence works include:

  • Anticonvulsants: Dilantin (phenytoin), Tegretol (carbamazepine), or phenobarbital
  • Corticosteroids: Dexamethasone, prednisone
  • Herbal products, such as St. John’s wort
  • Antimycobacterials (e.g., rifampin, rifapentine): Do not use with Intelence. 
  • Rifabutin: Do not use with Intelence if the person’s HIV antiretroviral regimen contains darunavir/rifampin or saquinavir/ritonavir.

Drugs that can increase the amount of Intelence in the body include:

  • Antifungals (fluconazole and voriconazole)

Intelence may increase concentrations of the following medications when taken together:

  • Anticoagulants, like warfarin
  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam)
  • Digoxin

Intelence can decrease the effects of the following medications when taken together:

  • Antiarrhythmics (e.g., amiodarone)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., indinavir): Do not use with Intelence. 
  • Anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin)
  • Anticonvulsants: Do not use with Intelence. 
  • Antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin)
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or “statins” (e.g., lovastatin, simvastatin, fluvastatin, pitavastatin)
  • Immunosuppressants (e.g., cyclosporine, sirolimus, tacrolimus)
  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil)
  • Platelet aggregation inhibitors (e.g., clopidogrel)

Before starting Intelence, tell your healthcare provider about all of the medications you take.

What Medications Are Similar?

Other NNRTIs include: 

  • Doravirine
  • Efavirenz
  • Rilpivirine
  • Delavirdine
  • Nevirapine

Etravirine should NOT be used in combination with another NNRTI.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Intelence used for?

    Intelence is used in combination with other antiretroviral medications to treat HIV-1 in people aged 6 years and older who have been previously treated with antiretroviral medications (“treatment-experienced”) and have evidence of viral replication and HIV-1 resistance to an NNRTI and other antiretrovirals.

  • How does Intelence work?

    Etravirine is an NNRTI of HIV-1 that binds directly to reverse transcriptase and blocks the RNA-dependent and DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activities. By blocking the conversion of RNA to DNA, the virus cannot continue to replicate.

  • What side effects can I expect while taking Intelence?

    The most common side effects of Intelence are rash, diarrhea, and peripheral neuropathy. Rashes most frequently developed during the second week of treatment and were less frequent after week four. 

    Most rashes resolve in one to two weeks on continued therapy in adults and children.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Intelence?

    One drawback of Intelence is its many drug interactions, so it’s important to discuss adding or stopping any medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Notable drugs that should not be taken with Intelence are the anticonvulsants such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, and phenobarbital. Also avoid combining Intelence with rifampin and rifabutin, drugs commonly used to treat tuberculosis or latent tuberculosis.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Intelence?

Intelence does not cure HIV infection or AIDS, but it can help people who have already tried other therapies keep their infection under control. Continue taking your other prescribed antiretroviral (ARV) medication(s) along with Intelence. Stopping one or more ARV increases the risk of developing viral resistance.

Contact your provider immediately if you develop a rash. Stop taking Intelence and seek immediate medical attention for rashes accompanied by fever, general ill feeling, muscle or joint aches, blisters, lesions in the mouth, eye/face/lip swelling, or other systemic symptoms. You can usually continue taking Intelence if the rash is mild.

Intelence may interact with other medications, therefore you should discuss any new medications with your doctor or pharmacist. This includes herbal products like St. John’s wort.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Intelence label.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Post-exposure prophylaxis guidelines.

  3. National Institutes of Health. Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral agents in adults and adolescents living with HIV.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfeeding and special circumstances.