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promising future treatments?
Nov 6, 2002

Dear Doctor,

In your honest opinion, what to your knowledge will be the most effective and exciting new treatment due for approval in the near future? Will it be able to treat hiv like diabetes for instance (a long term illness, yet one you can live with without too many problems). What will it be able to do that our current meds do not? Your answer would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

We've come a long way with HIV therapies, since the dark days of monotherapy. Newer combination therapies are easier to take-- fewer pills, fewer doses and fewer side effects, to name important attributes.

There are quite a number of new compounds under investigation-- some of these represent improvements in exisiting classes of drugs (like the new protease inhibitors atazanavir or GW908), others represent entirely new classes (like fusion inhibitors and integrase inhibitors). Like previous "new drugs", major objectives of these investigational drugs are to improve side effect or toxicity profile; for others the ability to treat drug resistant HIV is a key attribute.

Overall, there are still many unmet needs in our treatment community. The current and future drug options, I believe, if appropriately parcelled, can offer the prospect of long-term disease management. Indeed, the comparision to diabetes is not unreasonable-- that is to say that managed correctly, with medications, affected persons can live a near normal life expectancy. Without appropriate managment, the disease is lethal, unfortunately, even with good medical management, affected persons do occasionally have disease- or treatment-related complications. These statements hold true for both diabetes and HIV.

Stay tuned. There is much more to come. BY



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