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CROI 2010: Abacavir (Ziagen) Does Not Compromise Effectiveness of Hepatitis C Treatment, but Zidovudine (Retrovir) May Reduce Response

Using a nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone containing abacavir (Ziagen, also in the Epzicom coformulation) was not associated with poorer response to interferon-based therapy for hepatitis C in HIV/HCV coinfected patients, researchers reported at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2010) last month in San Francisco. However, backbones containing zidovudine (AZT; Retrovir) and possibly didanosine (ddI; Videx) were associated with a lower likelihood of achieving a sustained response.

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Atripla Label Information Updated to Reflect New Efficacy, Safety, and Resistance Data in Treatment-experienced Patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that the product label information for the tenofovir/emtricitabine/efavirenz fixed-dose combination pill Atripla will be updated to reflect new clinical trial data regarding efficacy, safety, and development of drug resistance. Overall, post-marketing data continue to show that Atripla remains safe and effective with long-term use.

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FDA Grants Traditional Approval for Etravirine (Intelence)

On November 24, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) granted traditional approval of Tibotec's next-generation non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor etravirine (Intelence), based on longer-term data from 2 pivotal trials showing that the drug was safe and effective over 48 weeks in treatment-experienced HIV patients with resistant virus.

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Antiretroviral Therapy Reduces Overall Mortality, but Effects Differ According to HIV Risk Group

Effective combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced overall mortality among people with HIV, according to data from the large HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration published in the January 2, 2010 issue of AIDS. Overall, starting treatment reduced the risk of death by about half. Those who started with a low CD4 cell count saw the largest reduction in mortality, but even those who started with more than 500 cells/mm3 had improved survival. However, the HIV-CAUSAL study and another study in Brazil both found that people who became infected with HIV via injection drug use did not benefit as much those infected through sex.

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Meta-Analysis of Truvada vs Epzicom Backbones Used with Boosted Protease Inhibitors for First-line Antiretroviral Therapy

First-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) that includes a nucleoside/nucleotide backbone of tenofovir/emtricitabine (the drugs in the Truvada coformulation) was more effective than regimens containing abacavir/lamivudine (the drugs in the Epzicom coformulation) for HIV patients with high pre-treatment viral load, according to a meta-analysis published in the October 2009 issue of HIV Medicine.

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