Groundbreaking New HIV Pill Gives Those With AIDS Real Relief

Inspiring 7

pillsAs if living with HIV wasn't complicated enough, treatment has mostly consisted of daily, lifelong "multi-pill regimes" -- until now. On Monday, the FDA approved a new anti-HIV pill that combines four different medications in a single once-a-day dose. Called Stribild, this new drug "provides a complete treatment regimen for HIV infection" and is meant for "people who have not already received treatment with other HIV drugs."

We've come a long way from the early days of AZT therapy! Though critics say this new drug's high cost will make it inaccessible to many patients, it's still a significant development: The first ever "complete treatment regimen for HIV infection" in a single pill. Wondering how that complete regimen breaks down?

Stribild is a combination of two previously approved antiviral drugs: Emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (sold in combination as Truvada); and two new drugs, elvitegravir (which helps to stop HIV from multiplying) and cobicistat (which prolongs the effect of elvitegravir). And, yes, there are potential side effects -- some of which, such as severe liver problems and/or a build-up of lactic acid, can be fatal -- most adverse effects noted were "mild to moderate." (And really, if you looked up the worst case scenario side effects for almost any drug on the market, you'd be horrified.)

Plus, the makers of Stribild (Gilead) will be offering patient financial assistance programs as well as discounts to state assistance programs. And you've got to figure with every step forward we're one step closer to a cure, right?

Do you think the new one-a-day HIV pill is a huge breakthrough in AIDS research?


Image via Matt Browne/Flickr

illness, medicine