November #129 : Stop, Go, But Proceed With Caution - by Tim Murphy

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues

Table of Contents

Practicing What She Preaches

Keeping the Faith

Missionary Man

Raging Bull

Belly Flop

Dances With Dog

Stop, Go, But Proceed With Caution

Sneak Peek

Bar Exam

Thanks in Advance

Word Up!

What Gives

Team Spirit

Deal or No Deal?

Electile Dysfunction

Take as Directed

Silver Screening

Race for a Cure?

Rio Bravo

Time of the Month

That Masked Man

Reins of Terror

I’m Outta Here

Editor’s Letter-November 2006

Mailbox-November 2007

Catch of the Month-November 2007

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

November 2006

Stop, Go, But Proceed With Caution

by Tim Murphy

Are on-off treatment breaks a dream vacation—or a holiday from health?

The folks in the lab coats have an on-again, off-again relationship with what’s called CD4-guided intermittent therapy—taking HIV meds only when your CD4 count falls and ditching them when it rebounds. Two studies with cute acronyms—SMART and STACCATO—reached drastically different conclusions this year. The bigger trial (SMART: 5,472 enrollees) suggests we can’t safely go on and off meds; STACCATO (430) says maybe we can. Which should we trust?

Each study divided subjects into a group taking meds continuously and another starting and stopping based on CD4s. The SMART on-off group restarted meds at 250 CD4s, STACCATO at 350. After 14 months, SMART was halted because the intermittent group had 120 AIDS complications or deaths compared with 47 in the continuous group. In STACCATO, the on-off group didn’t experience more illnesses or deaths—or drug resistance—over 21 months.  

More study is needed, says Bernard Hirschel, MD, STACCATO leader. Meanwhile, SMART investigator Cal Cohen, MD, warns, “Even above 350 CD4s, SMART patients off meds with [detectable HIV] had higher risk compared to those on continuous treatment.” If nothing else, the studies pinpoint the trade-off: higher risk of illness vs. perpetual daily doses. Some choice! Whichever way you turn, ask Doc first.                                                              

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.