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Watchdog expands use of HIV drug


A drug is now available to all adult HIV patients in the US after the country’s medicines watchdog backed an expansion of its use.

Isentress (also known as raltegravir) was already approved for patients who had drug-resistant strains of the disease or who were failing on other therapies, also in combination with other HIV drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration has now recommended that new and existing patients with the virus that causes AIDS should receive 400 milligrams of the Merck & Co drug twice a day, with or without food.

The decision to expand the drug’s use to all adult patients was based on a 48-week study comparing those who took Isentress with patients who took another HIV drug, Sustiva. Both groups also took two other HIV drugs.

Isentress works by blocking the enzyme integrase, one of three types of enzymes the AIDS virus uses to reproduce and infect cells.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Food and Drug Administration

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