Gilead AIDS Pill Effective in Study with Weekends Off
In a new study, patients who took a three-in-one combination AIDS pill five days a week fared just as well as those who took the drug every day. The results could have important implications both for the cost of AIDS care and for the ability of patients to comply with treatment regimens.
The Harvard Medical School study - presented Tuesday in Glasgow, Scotland, at the International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection - involved 60 patients prescribed Gilead Sciences Inc.’s once-daily drug Atripla. All patients took the drug, which combines Truvada (Viread and Emtriva) with Sustiva, every day until they achieved undetectable viral levels in their blood. Half then continued with daily dosing, while the other half began taking the drug on weekdays only. The patients on the reduced dosing plan kept their viral loads just as low during the six-month study as those who took the medicine every day, said Calvin Cohen, one of the researchers. Monitoring of the patients will continue for a year.
“From an economic point of view, it’s a big deal,” Cohen said. “This may provide one way to minimize the cost of what is undeniably one of our best regimens.” A 30-day supply of Atripla costs $1,362, according to Gilead.
In addition, patients preferred the five-day dosing plan. “In many people’s lives there’s a weekday life and a weekend life, and that’s been true since they were five years old,” Cohen said. “We wanted to build on that well-ingrained human construct.”
Longer, larger studies are needed, however. Cohen cautioned: “I’m not pretending this is the standard of care. The field deserves much more robust data set before adopting something like this.”
Date of Publication
Combination Therapy Drug Efficacy HIV/AIDS Treatment or Therapies Persons with HIV/AIDS Studies or Surveys
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