Does Your Treatment Fit? : Almost 20 Years of HIV Meds-and Look at Us Now - by Liz Highleyman

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Back to home » HIV 101 » POZ Focus » Does Your Treatment Fit?

Table of Contents

Does Your Treatment Fit?

Customizing Your Combo

Almost 20 Years of HIV Meds-and Look at Us Now

Two Treatment Tales

What You're Talking About
Losing Hope (blog) (22 comments)

Mad That Bill Maher Promoted a Quack AIDS Doc? Then Do This. (20 comments)

You Can't Hurry Love (14 comments)

I Watched Charlie Sheen on The Dr. Oz Show So You Don't Have To (blog) (14 comments)

Charlie Sheen S&%ts On 30 Years of AIDS Activism (blog) (14 comments)

Remember Their Names: World AIDS Day 2015 (blog) (13 comments)
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


Almost 20 Years of HIV Meds-and Look at Us Now

by Liz Highleyman

Retrovir (AZT), the first drug to fight HIV, is approved. It’s a nuke (short for nucleoside analog). But pretty soon it’s clear that by itself, AZT can’t prevent HIV from mutating to get around it.

Studies show that the handful of nukes on the market work better when used together. Combination therapy—the idea of getting more action against HIV by teaming meds up—is born.

Approval of the first protease inhibitors (PIs): Invirase (saquinavir), Crixivan (indinavir)  and Norvir (ritonavir).‑Combin-ing PIs and nukes improves their punch, ushering in triple-drug therapy.

More weapons against the virus: The --non-nukes (NNRTIs) debut, hitting HIV in a slightly different way than nukes.

Drug makers put two nukes into a single pill (Combivir), creating the first ever fixed-dose combination.

Oops. We notice bizarre side effects like body-fat accumulation and loss, and spiking levels of blood fats. These come to be known as lipodystrophy.

It turns out PIs sometimes increase the levels of other meds. Small amounts of Norvir (ritonavir) can be used to “boost” other PIs so they work better and can be taken less often and in lower doses.

Some non-nukes and Norvir-boosted PIs combine nicely with selected nukes into once-daily regimens.

A new nuke named Viread (tenofovir) comes on the scene. It’s chemically different from other nukes but acts against HIV in the same way.

The entry inhibitor Fuzeon (T-20) is approved—the first in a new class of HIV meds. Twice-daily injections are a drawback, so pharma gets to work developing a pill.

Some newer PIs such as Reyataz (atazanavir) are less linked to lipo.

Fixed-dose, once-daily combo pills (Epzicom and Truvada) become available.

New classes of HIV meds—including CCR5 antagonists, HIV integrase inhibitors and maturation inhibitors—are in development.

Drug makers announce that they’ve successfully combined two nukes (Emtriva and Viread) with the non-nuke Sustiva (efavirenz) in a single pill. If approved, it will be the first one-pill, once-a-day HIV regimen.

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