Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Abbott Drug Kaletra Does Not Induce HIV Resistance
Abbott Laboratories announced Wednesday that HIV-positive patients treated with its protease inhibitorKaletra, known generically as lopinavir/ritonavir, did not develop resistance to the drug, according to a recent study. The Wall Street Journal reports that the 48-week study examined 326 patients who received Kaletra in combination with other antiretrovirals as a first-line HIV treatment and 327 patients who were treated with Pfizer Inc.'s Viracept (nelfinavir), currently the "most widely prescribed" protease inhibitor. Researchers found that among 31 Kaletra patients whose viral levels rose to detectable levels after treatment, none developed resistance to Kaletra or any other protease inhibitor. In the Viracept cohort, however, of 65 patients whose virus levels "rebounded," 21 developed resistance to the drug. Abbott Director of Antiviral Drug Development Eugene Sun said that there is a "possib[ility] that patients on Kaletra might yet develop resistance" to protease inhibitors, adding that patients whose viral levels rebounded "probably hadn't been adhering to their regimen of taking medicines." John Mellors, director of the HIV/AIDS program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that the study indicates that Kaletra "can become a first-line therapy" for the disease. "Because the virus doesn't develop resistance, this means that you don't lose the drug's future effectiveness if you use it" in early treatment, he said (Wall Street Journal, 2/8).
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