Switching Drug Regimens Every Three Months May Benefit HIV-Positive People, Study Says
July 23, 2003
HIV-positive people may be less likely to develop a resistance to antiretroviral drugs if they switch drug regimens every three months, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Javier Martinez-Picado, a researcher at the University Germans Trias i Pujol in Badalona, Spain, and colleagues examined 161 HIV-positive people in Spain and Argentina who started antiretroviral therapy between 1999 and 2000 (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/21). The researchers split the patients into three groups, and the first two groups received their respective drug regimen continuously until their viral load began to increase -- the standard method of drug treatment. The first group received stavudine, didanosine and efavirenz, and the second group received zidovudine, lamivudine and nelfinavir. The third group alternated between the two treatment regimens every three months. The researchers chose this time period because doctors' appointments and prescription changes commonly occur at three-month intervals. The researchers found no difference between the standard drug regimens taken continuously by the first and second groups (Martinez-Picado et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/15). However, in the third group, it took four times longer for participants to show detectable viral levels, according to Martinez-Picado. Researchers concluded that further research must be conducted because it is "too early" to change treatment regimens based only on this study, the Daily News reports (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/21).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.