Gilead, Bristol-Myers Squibb Develop Once-a-Day Pill for Treating HIV; Study Shows Pill More Effective Than Standard Regimen
January 19, 2006
Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb say they jointly have developed a once-a-day pill for treating HIV that is effective in suppressing HIV viral loads and has few side effects, according to a study published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Washington Post reports (Gillis, Washington Post, 1/19). Joel Gallant of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues looked at 517 HIV-positive patients who had never received antiretroviral therapy and had HIV viral loads greater than 10,000 copies per milliliter (Gallant et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 1/19). The patients were randomly divided into two groups: one group received a one-pill combination of BMS' Sustiva and Gilead's Viread and Emtriva -- already sold together as Truvada -- and the other group received a combination of Sustiva and GlaxoSmithKline's Combivir (Vollmer, Charlotte News & Observer, 1/19). Combivir, which is taken twice daily, is the standard treatment taken by one in five HIV-positive patients in the U.S., according to GSK (Tansey, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/19). After 48 weeks, researchers found "significantly greater responses" in the group receiving the once-a-day pill, with 84% of patients in that group showing a reduced viral load compared with 73% in the other group. According to the study, patients taking the once-a-day pill also experienced fewer side effects associated with the standard three-drug regimen (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/19).
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