The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has reported that a new antiretroviral drug to help drug-resistant patients has been approved.

Last week Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved Merck & Co.’s Isentress (raltegravir), the first drug in a new class of integrase inhibitors.

The FDA approved Isentress for patients with drug-resistant HIV who are failing their treatment regimen. The drug works by inhibiting the integrase enzyme that HIV uses to replicate.

There are an estimated 40 000 patients in the United States who have developed resistance to three HIV drug classes. In addition, some patients do not respond to typical treatments, and Isentress may be another option for them, said Robin Isaacs, Merck’s Executive Director of Infectious Disease and HIV Vaccine Clinical Research.

It is the second new class of HIV drug approved by FDA this year. In August, the agency approved Selzentry (maraviroc), the first CCR5 co-receptor antagonist, which blocks HIV from entering white blood cells.

“We’re exploring a whole new family of medications,” said Jeff Bailey, Director of Client Services at AIDS Project Los Angeles. “That’s important for patients who believed they didn’t have options.”

It is “pretty common” for HIV/AIDS patients to be resistant to at least one treatment class, said Isaacs. “As time goes on, the chance that you become resistant becomes higher. The virus outsmarts the ability of drugs to treat it.”

(Susan Todd, Star-Ledger)

Health-e News Service

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend