Can a monthly injection of two antiretroviral drugs offer a better chance of suppressing the virus than current oral regimens, among individuals with adherence challenges? A trial that will enroll some 350 volunteers with documented lapses in treatment in the preceding year and a half will seek to find out, the National Institutes of Health announced today.
Lapses or inconsistent dosing of antiretroviral treatment is the most common factor in treatment failing to suppress the virus, the announcement of the trial notes, adding that as many as one in four people prescribed antiretroviral medicine to treat HIV have treatment interruptions. Obstacles to healthcare access, financial hurdles, insecure housing and stigma associated with HIV, may be some of the reasons for irregular access to treatment, the NIH notes.
All trial participants will be given a daily oral regimen of antiretroviral treatment, with support to adhere to it for six months. Those with suppressed viral loads at the end of that period will be randomly assigned to continue the oral regimen, or to switch to one comprised of riilpivirine and cabotegravir — the medicines used in the injectable regimen after four weeks. At the end of a year participants will have the option of switching to, or remaining on the long-acting injected regimen.
See previous Science Speaks coverage of long-acting antiretroviral treatment goals here.