Data on the experimental NRTI, apricitabine, were presented August 5 at the International AIDS Conference, showing it is well tolerated when taken by people with experience taking HIV drugs. The results add to earlier research which showed that it might prove to be a good treatment option for people whose HIV has grown resistant to the NRTIs Epivir (lamivudine/3TC) and Emtriva (emtricitabine/FTC).
Dr. Cox, of Avexa (the company developing apricitabine), presented data comparing 2 doses, (600 and 800mg) taken twice daily to 150 mg of Epivir, in people failing an HIV regimen with Epivir.
After 24 weeks, no serious adverse events or deaths occurred in people taking apricitabine. Most were mild or moderate and were GI-related, including diarrhea and nausea. The overall rates of adverse events were similar between people taking apricitabine and Epivir. This is good news for Avexa as Epivir is widely considered one of the best tolerated HIV drugs.
While these safety data are encouraging, the bigger question facing apricitabine is how potent it is. Earlier presentations on this study suggested relatively good short-term anti-HIV activity, but longer-term data failed to show a statistically significant difference between people on apricitabine vs. those who continued on Epivir. At the 2008 CROI, people from Avexa claimed this might be due to the high potency of the optimized background therapy used by both groups in the study. While this might be true, Avexa still must prove that apricitabine is both potent and well tolerated.