Your personal feelings about Re-mune?
Jan 24, 2000
Doctors, I am thinking about enrolling in a clinical trial using Re-mune.I am currently on anti-virals. What are your candid views on this drug? Some people contend that if the vaccine held any significant promise we would have heard something (in spite of the recent experimental foul-up. I just would like some tangible information before committing myself to this trial. Thank You. Mark
Response from Dr. Cohen
Well, you don't mention which trial you are considering. However, what we can say is that so far there are a few themes, some of which are summarized in my article posted in this web site on a forum on immune based therapy -- it was recently posted.
First - it is safe to use, as far as we can see. There are reports of some brief muscle ache at the site of the injection not surprisingly - but even this has not been a problem.
Second - when used in a combination of antivirals that does NOT control HIV replication we see only very little hints of benefit, if any. There was no reduction in the rate of people getting sick, although there was a small increase in the CD4 count of those who did get treated with Remune.
Third - there are intriguing hints of benefit when Remune is given with antivirals that do control HIV replication which is more the case now. This ability to control HIV has only been here a few years, and most of the studies of Remune were done before this was commonly done. And in the few studies done with more potent antivirals, there is evidence that the immune system does respond to the vaccine, and it may help in controlling HIV replication.
And that is the point of the studies now being considered. One Remune trial happening at many places in the US is for those just starting their first antiviral combination - and people get a standard triple combo either with or without Remune - since an earlier study using this approach showed some hints of benefit. Another just getting underway is adding Remune to those who have viral suppression on whatever combo - to see how the immune system responds to it. If all of this works - it may contribute to what the body can ultimately due to control HIV perhaps with less help from antiviral medications some day...
It is only with the participation of those willing to engage in this type of research that we will finally know if Remune is helpful... or not. And so far there appears to be no known harm in getting it - and perhaps quite a bit of good. We shall see...
Hope that helps.
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