Truvada, a drug created by Gilead Sciences, is a step closer of becoming the first approved drug to prevent as well as treat HIV. It appears to be safe and effective in healthy people for preventing the virus that leads to AIDS, say the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
About one and half million people in US have HIV, the disease which attacks the immune system, unless treated with antiviral drugs, develops into AIDS, a deadly condition in which the body cannot ward off infections. Gilead Sciences Inc has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are contaminated with the virus.
Truvada is a combination of two older HIV drugs known as Emtriva and Viread. Doctors generally prescribe these drugs as part of a drug concoction that makes it harder for the virus to replicate. Patients with low viral levels have reduced symptoms and are far less likely to develop AIDS.
Truvada could prevent people from contracting HIV, was reported firstly in 2010. A three- year study showed that daily dose of Truvada cut the risk of infection in bisexual males and healthy gay by forty-four percent and the drug should be accompanied with counseling. One more study found that Truvada reduced infection percent in heterosexual couples by seventy-five.
As Truvada is already on the market to control HIV, therefore some doctors already prescribe it as a preventive measure. Reviewer from FDA stated patients must be diligent about taking the pill every day if using it as a preventative measure. The clinical trials had shown that adherence to the drug was less than perfect and patients often forget to take their medication.
Advisers’ panel of FDA will consider the review when it votes on whether Truvada should be approved as a preventative treatment for people who are at high risk of contracting HIV. If Truvada is approved, it would be a major breakthrough in the fight against the AIDS epidemic. There have been no other drugs proven to prevent HIV.
Dr Rodney Wright, director of HIV programs at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, stated they know that if the patients do not take the medication every day they will not be protected. So the concern is that there may not be adequate adherence to provide protection in the general population.