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Three pills into one?
May 17, 2004

I haven't started HIV treatment yet, but I'm aware that people take a combination of three pills a day. Some take one dose a day while others take two doses a day. Apparently taking a combination of three pills is most effective in lowering the viral load and increasing the CD4 count. Is there currently a pill that combines three pills in one that you can take once a day? If so, can anyone currently on treatment switch over to that pill? If not, will there be such a pill in the near future?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

Saddly, in the US, there is only one triple combination pill, Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir)- this still needs to be taken 1 pill twice daily, so there's still potential room for improvments . For most persons, Trizivir alone is not a highly recommended first line treatment for HIV, particularly those with the high viral loads.

Other drug regimens with very low pill counts (3 or 4) are currently available, even 3 to 4 pills once-daily. Future improvements will provide us with new nucleoside combo pills (abacavir/3TC and tenofovir/FTC) that will make the pill counts even lower.

Lastly, today's NY Times (17 May) is reporting on a possible collaboration between the Gilead and BMS- the pharmaceutical companies that make tenofovir, FTC and efavirenz (Sustiva,Stocrin), with the hope of a single, three drug, once-daily combination pill that might be available in the developing world. This raises the possibility that we might see such a product here in the US sometime thereafter.

Thanks for reading. BY



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