A monthly antiviral injection may be as good as daily HIV drugs for suppressing infections, reports the British biotech ViiV Healthcare. This could make the treatment of HIV easier for patients and improve compliance.
In the first five months of a Phase IIb trial, the company gave 274 HIV-infected adults three daily oral antiretrovirals. After this point, a number of patients were given injections of ViiV’s candidate antiretroviral cabotegravir and rilpivirine, an approved HIV treatment from Tibotec. The patients were randomly assigned to receive the injections either once a month or every two months.
After 40 months, 90% of the patients receiving monthly injections were virally suppressed and had little viral RNA circulating in their blood. Furthermore, 83% of patients from the group receiving two-monthly injections were also virally suppressed. The safety profile of the treatments was also acceptable, with mostly mild side effects and reactions at the injection site.
These results were backed up by a recent Phase III report finding that the monthly combination was also as efficacious as ViiV’s market-approved three-drug daily oral treatment Triumeq. The company also published promising Phase III results comparing the monthly treatment to other daily HIV drugs.
According to a statement by Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of ViiV, John Pottage, this trial is part of an effort to make it easier for patients to take their antiviral HIV drugs.
Earlier this year, ViiV completed Phase III trials of another monthly injectable two-drug combination for HIV, and reported that they had the same viral suppression effect as three-drug combinations. By reducing the number of drugs needed to treat HIV, the risk of harmful interactions with other medication decreases.
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