Using a low, 100 mg dose of the protease inhibitor Norvir (ritonavir) to boost other PIs is now standard in HIV treatment. The subtherapeutic booster doesn’t stop HIV from reproducing, but it does block an enzyme in your gut and liver, allowing other PIs in your combo to loiter longer and work better. But the added Norvir can cause gut problems and increase blood fats and sugars.
Bioavailability Systems, a small research company, has developed a booster substitute from a grapefruit-juice compound, hoping to cause fewer side effects. (The levels of PI-boosting compounds in actual grapefruit juice are variable and unpredictable, so PI takers are warned not to drink the stuff.) A company spokesperson told POZ that he didn’t know when the product, called BAS-100 for now, might be available (early human trials have showed good results; find summaries at www.bioavailsys.com/ClinicalTrials.htm). Despite its bland name, he calls BAS-100 “kickass.” We’ll need more data before we’re similarly juiced.