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Issue No. 45 | October 31, 2008

News and Features

Study: Early Antiretroviral Treatment Increases Survival

"A new study presented Sunday at the 48th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy [ICAAC] in Washington suggests that people with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment sooner than guidelines currently recommend. Delaying ARVs until patients' T-cell counts fall below 350 nearly doubles the risk of death in the next few years when compared to patients whose treatment was started earlier, the large study finds."

Study: Raltegravir Non-Inferior to Efavirenz

Data from a 48-week, Phase III trial reported at ICAAC found the integrase inhibitor raltegravir (400 mg twice daily) to be non-inferior to efavirenz (600 mg once daily) in treatment-naïve patients. The raltegravir group also saw greater increases in CD4 count and fewer central nervous system side effects. This study was supported by Merck, makers of raltegravir.

Study: Darunavir Non-Inferior to Lopinavir/Ritonavir

"At [ICAAC], a head-to-head study of two AIDS drugs found ... Prezista [darunavir] is 'non-inferior' to ... Kaletra [lopinavir/ritonavir]. ... In a 96-week study of 689 patients, 79 percent of participants taking Prezista had undetectable HIV levels, compared with 71 percent in the Kaletra group. The study was funded by Tibotec, [makers of Prezista]. Physicians point out that Prezista needs Norvir [ritonavir] ... as a booster to work as well as Kaletra. And they note that patients like the convenience of Kaletra, which requires fewer pills since its formulation contains Norvir."

Studies: Newer Antiretrovirals Cause Fewer Side Effects

"Patients on newer HIV drugs did well and had fewer side effects that stopped treatment, according to several studies presented Sunday in Washington at [ICAAC]. The company-funded studies could support extending first-line approval to HIV drugs now used for treatment-experienced patients failing therapy."