Research shows that nearly 30% of male to female transgender women test positive for HIV. Part of living with HIV is taking anti-viral drugs to help extend the quality of life. However, these same medications to help save transgender women can actually gravely injure them.
Gilead’s TDF drugs belong to a class of antiretroviral drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors that are prescribed to treat HIV. These drugs inhibit the activity of reverse transcriptase. This enzyme slows the progression of HIV. TDF drugs can slow the progression of HIV. Those with HIV need to take anti-viral medication in order to survive.
There are five Gilead TDF drugs available:
Transgender Women Injured By TDF Medications
Gilead had a safer medication (TAF) for well over a decade but never released it to maximize profits. Those with HIV need TDF meds to stay alive. They have no choice, and Gilead knew this. But, instead of addressing the kidney and bone density issues, the company decided to keep selling the medication until the patent was up. Then, they “claimed” to find a safer alternative.
The FDA even sent multiple warning letters starting in 2002, each for minimizing the known risks of Truvada and making false claims in regards to its efficacy. Sales representatives were saying it was a “miracle drug without toxicities”. Kidney failure is a side effect, however, representatives never told doctors.
FDA Truvada Warning 1, March 14, 2002: Gilead sales representatives were observed making false claims about the Truvada, stating it was “extremely safe”, “extremely well-tolerated”, and a “miracle drug” that had “no toxicities”. Truvada kidney failure, which was listed as a potential side effect on the warning label, was not mentioned by the representatives. Then, in 2014, the FDA sent another letter. This time the agency called out Gilead’s online advertising that neglected to mention kidney and bone risks with the drug.
Those taking Gilead’s TDF describe two main injuries when taking the medication. These include kidney disease and bone density loss.
Chronic Kidney Disease Injuries
Nearly 20,000 people taking TDF reported kidney damage. Kidneys are normally resilient to damage, however, when symptoms start, it is hard to reverse them. Kidneys filter wastes from the bloodstream into the urine and out the body. However, those taking TDF reported chronic kidney disease. This prevented the kidneys from effectively filtering the bloodstream.
Symptoms of this include:
- Loss of appetite
- Poor concentration
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Need to urinate frequently
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal protein levels in the urine
- High creatinine levels diagnosed by a physician or other healthcare provider
- Abnormal glomerular filtration rate (GFR) levels (15 to 90) as determined by tests and blood work
- Death due to renal failure
Aside from chronic kidney disease, individuals taking Gilead’s TDF drugs are at risk of developing several other kidney-related conditions, including:
- Acute kidney injury (AKI) or acute renal failure (ARF): A kidney disorder in which the kidneys suddenly have difficulty filtering waste from the blood.
- Fanconi syndrome: A kidney tubule disorder that causes excessive levels of glucose, potassium, and bicarbonate to be excreted in the urine.
- Renal tubular acidosis: A kidney condition involving the build-up of acid in the bloodstream due to the kidneys failing to filter it out.
Bone Density Injuries
Those taking Gilead’s TDF reported nearly 10,000 reports of bone density loss. In fact, a 2010 study found:
A strong correlation between loss of bone density in HIV-infected individuals, particularly in conjunction with the antiretroviral drug tenofovir.
Another study from 2016 found that Gilead’s TDF has a 1-3 percent greater bone mineral density loss than other anti-viral drugs. Without new bone tissue replacing the older one, osteoporosis sets in it. This is a condition in which bones are so weak that minor falls or stresses can cause them to fracture.
Common symptoms for osteoporosis and osteopenia include:
- Back pain
- Stooped posture
- Loss of height
- Bone fractures with physician or healthcare provider diagnosis of bone weakening or demineralization
- Bone density loss, bone demineralization, or weakening of the bones diagnosed by a physician or other healthcare provider
If you or a loved one has been harmed by Gilead TDF medication, you need an attorney with experience helping people who have been harmed by pharmaceutical drugs. The attorneys at the Michael Brady Lynch Firm know what it takes to go up against drug manufacturers to get clients what they need.
If a jury finds the conduct of a drug company in manufacturing and selling a drug to be reckless, they may award punitive damages to punish the company and deter similar conduct in the future. Therefore, if you developed kidney issues after taking TDF meds, please speak to us to learn more about your rights.
You deserve compensation. It can never replace what you have lost. But, it can help you recover medical expenses, lost wages and the loss of an ability to work. The consultation is completely free, and you are under zero obligation. We are available 24/7 to take your call.