New HIV treatment is combination 1-a-day drug

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New HIV treatment is combination 1-a-day drug

New HIV treatment — Daily combination tablet Atripla makes sticking to treatment simpler.

What happened? Approval of a new combination tablet to treat HIV will make it easier for people to follow their treatment regimen.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a once-a-day, three-drugs-in-one, fixed-dose combination called Atripla. The new pill combines the active ingredients of three anti-retroviral drugs already in use to treat HIV/AIDS — efavirenz (Sustiva), emtricitabine (Emtriva) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread).

These drugs have already been used together for some time as part of a "cocktail" therapy.

According to the FDA, Atripla will contain a package warning that the drug may cause buildup of lactic acid in the blood. Other potential serious side effects may include serious liver toxicity, kidney impairment and severe depression. In a 48-week trial, the most common side effects experienced by participants were headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and rash.

What does this mean to you? If you're being treated for HIV/AIDS, you now have a simple course of treatment to follow.

The newly approved tablet combines three medications that have been in use for several years, and whose results and effects are well-known.

Many people with HIV/AIDS take additional drugs beyond the three that have been combined into the new tablet, in order to deal with complications and AIDS-related infections. The new combination pill won't eliminate the need for these people to continue to take other medications.

However, the ability of more people to more easily follow a course of treatment for HIV/AIDS holds the prospect of bringing the AIDS epidemic in check.

Last Updated: 07/14/2006
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