Maraviroc: New drug slows advance of HIV

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Maraviroc: New drug slows advance of HIV

Maraviroc slows the progression of HIV in people with drug-resistant HIV.

What happened? A new drug has been added to the arsenal of medications used to fight HIV infection.

The medication, maraviroc (Selzentry), has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It's designed to slow the progression of HIV in some adults. Maraviroc works only in adults with a particular type of the HIV virus known as CCR5-tropic HIV-1.

Maraviroc is the first in a new class of anti-HIV drugs known as CCR5 antagonists. It's approved for use in combination with other antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of adults with CCR5-tropic HIV-1 who have elevated levels of HIV (high viral load) in their blood despite treatment with other HIV medications. Maraviroc reduces viral load by preventing HIV from entering uninfected white blood cells. It does this by blocking CCR5, a major route of entry into the cells. CCR5 is a protein found on the surface of some immune cells, and maraviroc blocks the CCR5 co-receptor from accepting HIV.

The FDA estimates that between 50 percent and 60 percent of people who have previously received drug treatment for HIV infection and for whom treatment has failed have CCR5-tropic HIV-1.

There are currently 22 drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV. Maraviroc is the first drug that targets a human protein rather than components of the HIV virus itself.

What does this mean for you? If you have CCR5-tropic HIV-1 infection, have tried other drug treatments and still have an elevated viral load, then maraviroc may be a treatment option. During two large clinical trials, approximately twice as many people with CCR5-tropic HIV-1 infection who received maraviroc had undetectable viral loads after 24 weeks as did those who received more standard therapy in the control groups.

Before this drug is used, you'll need a blood test to determine if you have CCR5-tropic HIV-1. The results can help your doctor determine whether or not you're a candidate for maraviroc.

Maraviroc carries the risk of liver damage and cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and dizziness upon standing (postural hypotension). Other problems associated with maraviroc are cough, fever, upper respiratory tract infections, rash and abdominal pain.

The safety and effectiveness of maraviroc in adults and children with HIV who have never been treated with another HIV drug hasn't been established.

Last Updated: 08/10/2007
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