Daily HIV medications might be replaced by bimonthly injections

Derek de Koff

The results of an 8-month study into injectable medication for HIV are out, and the news is good.

From GSK:

These results show that the investigational, long acting, injectable formulations of cabotegravir (ViiV Healthcare) and rilpivirine (Janssen) were comparable in maintaining viral suppression rates to a three drug oral regimen of investigational cabotegravir and two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).

The language is a bit dense, but what it means is that long-lasting, injectable versions of the drugs were just as effective in fighting HIV as a daily dose in pill form. Injectable medication could be the next frontier in fighting HIV, since adherence to HIV meds is crucial to keeping the virus at bay.

Furthermore, the injectable drugs don’t need to be taken as frequently as pill doses:

Viral suppression rates (plasma HIV-1 RNA <50 c/ml by FDA snapshot analysis) for patients at 32 weeks receiving two drug maintenance therapy with investigational long acting cabotegravir (CAB LA) and long acting rilpivirine (RPV LA) dosed every 8 weeks (Q8W, 95%) or every 4 weeks (Q4W, 94%) were comparable to the rate observed in patients continuing with a three drug oral regimen of investigational CAB + NRTIs (91%).

We recommend that you read the entire release, but it’s definitely an exciting new development in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

And if you’re wondering about injectable PrEP, that’s another tool that looks like it’s on the way.

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