three could have some advantages. It may allow patients to have more effective drugs to use in the future in case the regimen stops working. Remember that patients are going to be getting treated for 30-40 years or more, so they need to have effective options in the future. Also, fewer drugs may mean fewer side-effects and patients may stay on their treatment.
A new drug that blocks the integrase was approved called Bictegravir. It works the same way as Dolutegravir and is also very potent. Three drugs, including Bictegravir and two drugs that block reverse transcriptase (tenofovir-alafenamide and emtricitabine), are combined into a single pill called BIctarvy.
Just a few days ago (March 6, 2018), the FDA approved a new treatment that works differently from any other drug classes in preventing HIV. Ibalizumab (Trogarzo) is a monoclonal antibody. It recognizes the special site on your white blood cells that HIV attaches to when it infects cells. When Ibaluzimab is in the blood, it blocks this site and prevents HIV from getting into the cells to infect them.
There are other drugs that block the entry of HIV into cells but this drug works slightly differently. Because it is an antibody, it cannot be taken orally like a pill but must be injected under the skin, similar to how a diabetic person takes insulin. Fortunately, the injections only need to be given once every two weeks. Ibalizumab is a very important drug because it is specifically to be used in patients who have very few treatment options.
Individuals who have had HIV for a long time may be resistant to many of the classes of drugs available. Because this drug works differently from all other drugs, there should be no resistance and it may work together with other drugs to completely suppress the virus.
If you want to learn more about these new medicines and find out if they could help you, talk to your healthcare provider.
Dr. Crawford received a B.S degree in Biology from Cornell University and a B.S. in Pharmacy from Temple University. He completed a residency in clinical pharmacy at the National Institutes of Health. He earned a doctorate in Pharmacology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, studying microbial biochemistry and genetics.
He is currently with the Division of AIDS at the National Institutes of Health. He has over 25 years of experience in HIV treatment and clinical research. This article reflects his personal views and opinions.