Is It Time to Try a Single-Tablet Regimen for HIV?
Treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the last few decades is heralded as one of the great medical advancements of our time. Once considered a virtual death sentence, HIV patients can now expect to live a near-normal lifespan of approximately 70 years--if they adhere to their HIV treatment regimen. This can be quite challenging, though, since patients may have to take multiple pills throughout the day. That’s why the new single-tablet regimen--taking just one pill, once a day--is such an exciting advancement.
Treating HIV: We’ve Come a Long Way
In my career, I’ve watched the landscape of the HIV epidemic change radically, and I’ve seen the way we treat HIV patients change dramatically too. When I was in training, most people with HIV required multiple pills, called antiretroviral therapies, taken several times a day to keep the virus at bay. These drugs often had a lot of unpleasant side effects. For instance, we often had to add an antidiarrheal medication to the patient’s list of medications because we knew the regimen would cause diarrhea. These medications worked, but they weren’t easy to take because the regimens were so complicated.
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