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Pharmacological Treatment of HIV/AIDS

Pharmacological Treatment of HIV/AIDS

Pharmacological Treatment of HIV/AIDS

Each of the antiretroviral drugs used in combination therapy regimens should always be used according to optimum schedules and dosages

Antiretroviral Agents

The recommended antiretroviral drugs to be used fall into the following main categories:

Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) 

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) 

Protease inhibitors (Pls)

Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTI)/ Integrase inhibitors

Fusion inhibitors

Chemokine receptor inhibitors/CCR5 inhibitors 

First Line ART
Triple therapy consisting of 2 NRTI + 1 NNRTI

Clients on TDF/3TC/EFV600 can be switched to TDF/3TC/ EFV400 (when available) to reduce CNS related toxicity with exception of Pregnant women and TB-HIV Co-infected pa­tients

TDF 300mg based regimens should not be initiated on patients with weight less than 35kg.

EFV400 based regimens should not be initiated on patients with weight below 20Kg

Second-line Antiretroviral Therapy in Adults and Adolescents

Treatment failure will be based on virological criteria of more than 1000copies /ml after two successive tests, at least three months apart with assurance of good adherence, in areas where there is access to routine viral load monitoring.

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Drugs used as the second line in Tanzania include 

  • Zidovudine (AZT)
  • Tenofovir (TDF)
  • Abacavir (ABC)
  • Lamivudine (3TC)
  • Emtricitabine (FTC)
  • Atazanavir boosted by Ritonavir (ATV/r)
  • Lopinavir boosted by Ritonavir (LPV/r)

Dolutegravir (DTG   

The second line NRTI choice for adults and adolescents de­pends on the first line regimen

For patients on TDF based regimens in first line, the preferred second line option is AZT plus 3TC combined with a ritonavir-boosted PI, preferably ATV/r because it is dosed once daily and has fewer metabolic complications and side effects

Third-Line Art Treatment

Patients failing 2nd line regimens may have extensive NRTI and NNRTIs associated resistance mutations (RAMS) which preclude/minimise their use in third-line regimens.

Therefore, 3rd line regimens, in order to have at least two or preferably three effective drugs, need to be constructed using other new classes of drugs or second generation formulations of previous drugs

These second generation drugs usually have a higher genetic barrier to resistance and their efficacy is not compromised by RAMs associated with the first generation formulations.

Therefore, the following are used:

Integrase Inhibitors: Dolutegravir 50mg (DTG) and Raltegravir 400mg (RAL),

o Second generation PIs: Darunavir 800mg /Ritonavir 100mg (DRV/r)

o   Second generation NNRTI: Etravirine 200g (ETV)

Person Holding Medical Pills

Wells BG, DiPiro J, Schwinghammer T (2013), Pharmacotherapy Handbook (6th Ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

DiPiro JT, Talbert RL, Yee GC, Matzke GR, Wells BG, Posey ML, (2008): Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach (7th ed): New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Katz M D., Matthias KR., Chisholm-Burns M A., Pharmacotherapy(2011) Principles & Practice Study Guide: A Case-Based Care Plan Approach: New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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Schwinghammer TL, Koehler JM (2009) Pharmacotherapy Casebook: A Patient-Focused Approach (7th ed): New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.


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