The HIV antiretroviral treatment raltegravir is safe when combined with optimum background therapy, according to research published in the Online First edition of The Lancet.
Dr Jeffrey Lennox of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, reports that it is an effective alternative to efavirenz in patients yet to start antiretroviral treatment.
It is also faster acting and causes fewer side effects by targeting integrase, an enzyme that integrates HIV genetic material into human chromosomes.
Efavirenz is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) that reduces the activity of the reverse transcriptase enzyme vital for producing HIV viral DNA in host cells.
A drawback is the need to take raltegravir twice daily, rather than once daily as with efavirenz, a regime that if not adhered to might effect its clinical effectiveness.
But the report concludes: “Raltegravir is an important additional drug for initial treatment of HIV-1 infection, and should be regarded as an alternative to efavirenz as part of a first-line combination regimen with tenofovir and emtricitabine in treatment-naive patients.”
Copyright Press Association 2009