New Protease Inhibitor Shows Promise in HIV+ Patients

Darunavir expands options for treatment-experienced patients

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A new antiretroviral drug, darunavir, has shown promising results in treatment-experienced HIV-1 infected patients, according to a report published online April 5 in The Lancet.

Bonaventura Clotet, M.D., of the Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues conducted a trial of 230 HIV-1 infected patients, all of whom remained on an optimized background regimen. While 110 were randomized to receive 600 mg of darunavir in combination with 100 mg of ritonavir twice daily, 120 controls received other protease inhibitors.

After 48 weeks of treatment, 67 (61 percent) of the darunavir-ritonavir patients achieved a 10-fold drop in viral load, compared with only 18 (15 percent) of the control group patients. Both groups had similar rates of adverse events.

"This treatment is expected to fulfil the clinical need for a new protease inhibitor capable of expanding the treatment options available for a treatment-experienced, drug-resistant population of patients," the authors conclude. "Darunavir-ritonavir is now being assessed in patients with less or no treatment experience in phase III trials."

Those in the field of HIV/AIDS "will probably rejoice in the availability of darunavir," said Rodger MacArthur, M.D., of Wayne State University in Detroit, in an editorial. However, the full efficacy of the drug will only be established in two to three years after clinical endpoint studies have been conducted.

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