New HIV antiretroviral on PBS
LAST UPDATED // Friday, 28 March 2014 08:48 Written by // Michael Magnusson
A Melbourne specialist HIV practitioner has welcomed the addition of a new antiretroviral treatment to the medications available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
As of April 1, an integrase inhibitor with the brand name Tivicay will be listed on the free medicines available via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Director and co-owner of Prahran Market Clinic, Dr Norman Roth told gaynewsnetwork that the significance of this drug was that it represents a maturing of the technology of antiviral treatment.
“It's not a breakthrough in the sense that its going to dramatically save lives that would otherwise be lost,” Roth said.
“We have good drugs but this is an improvement on those current drugs.”
“We have had pretty reasonable antiretroviral options for the last 10 or 15 years,” he said. “This is at least as effective, if not more effective than what we currently have.”
Roth said existing antiretroviral treatments have some side effects and other drawbacks, including toxicities in varying extents in different people or that the medications needed to be taken more than once a day. He said this new drug was very potent, very simple and very clean by not causing much in the way of toxicity at all.
He said it can be be taken once a day with very little interaction with other medications.
“It's not the first drug in this class of integrase inhibitor. There are a couple of others available but it's a bit simpler than the others. One of the others needs to be taken twice a day and the second one needs to be boosted with another agent.
“This one doesn't need that so it's so quite a significant improvement on what we have.”
Roth said that studies of the new drug were conducted on people who had been on treatment before as well as those who had and developed some degree of resistance to current treatments.