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Is This New HIV Med for You?


Gilead’s new single-pill HIV treatment reduces side effects.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Gilead’s new HIV medication, Genvoya. It is the first complete regimen using a new form of tenofovir (tenofovir alafenamide). Clinical trials showed Genvoya had less kidney toxicity and fewer decreases in bone density compared to other antiretrovirals.

“As the HIV patient population ages, there is an increased risk of age- and treatment-related comorbidities, including low bone mineral density and renal impairment [due] to the combination of HIV infection, antiretroviral treatments, and the natural aging process,” says author David Wohl, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A fixed-dose combination tablet, Genvoya contains previously approved HIV medications (elvitegravir, cobicistat, and emtricitabine) and the new form of tenofovir, which results in 91 percent less tenofovir in the bloodstream, but higher levels within the cells (where HIV-1 replicates), meaning the dosage can be a fraction of other forms of tenofovir. 

Side effects ranged from nausea to serious build-ups of lactic acid, worsening kidney problems, decreased bone mineral density, fat redistribution, and immune reconstitution syndrome.

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