New once-daily HIV medication launched in the UK to help patients ‘lead a full and healthy life’

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A new one-daily HIV drug formulation has been launched in the UK.

MSD today announced the availability of Isentress (raltegravir) 600mg, to allow patients to have a 1200 mg once-daily dose.

Two tablets of the integrase inhibitor can be taken with or without food in combination with other antiretrovirals to treat HIV-1 in adults and patients.

Epidemic: When Britain Fought Aids
Epidemic: When Britain Fought Aids

Raltegravir was first approved for use in the UK back in 2008.

The drug is for those who are treatment-naïve or whose virus has been virologically suppressed on an initial regimen of raltegravir 400 mg twice daily.

According to statistics from Public Health England, there were an estimated 101,200 people living with HIV in the UK in 2015.

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13% of these people are undiagnosed and do not know they are infected.

HIV testing kit
HIV testing kit

Over half (54%) of those newly-diagnosed with HIV in 2015 were men who have sex with men.

Earlier this month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which makes recommendations on healthcare provisions within the NHS, urged GPs to offer routine HIV tests for new patients in high-risk areas.

“We hope and believe that people living with HIV can lead a full and healthy life – but this requires long-term regular and effective anti-retroviral medication,” said Dr Andrew Ustianowski, Infectious diseases consultant at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

“Once-daily medications are an important contributor to aiding some individuals in taking their treatment well, and therefore the new once-daily raltegravir formulation is a welcome and important development for our patients.”

An investigation last year found that UK hospitals and GP practices are failing to meet recommendations to offer routine HIV tests to patients