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View Diary: Gilead’s New FDA Approved HIV Drug Improves Nothing, So Naturally It Costs A Lot (13 comments)

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    sfbob

    For the trove of information in your comment. I wasn't familiar with the likely sources of the anxiety and kidney issues before, but everything you're saying is ringing a few bells.

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      Virally Suppressed

      It only occurred to me later that I should have done some research on the other two components of Stribild.

      Elvitegravir is an integrase inhibitor, among the same class of drugs as Isentress. There are studies involving its use as a stand-alone drug or in combination with other existing HIV meds. It seems as though (like many newer-class HIV medications) it is intrinsically less likely to cause side effects than older drugs.

      Cobicistat is not an HIV drug at all; its function is to inhibit certain liver enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of other HIV medications, thereby increasing bioavailability of the other medications. Increased bioavailability means you can take a lower dosage of the other drug than would otherwise be required and therefore be less subject to side effects. Norvir, an older HIV medication of the  protease inhibitor class, has similar effects and is generally used for similar purposes.

      Apparently Stribild has been approved only on treatment naive patients (that is for those not previously on anti-retroviral therapy). Given the problematic side effects of Stribild this really isn't surprising; in fact it makes sense that it wouldn't be given to treatment-experienced patients who may already have been subject to the toxicities of other, older meds.

      Elvitegravir hasn't yet been approved for use separately or in any combination other than as part of Stribild though there are studies for such uses currently underway.

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