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Merck’s Doravirine One Step Closer

Merck’s Doravirine One Step Closer


The pharmaceutical company Merck’s new HIV drug, doravirine, worked so well in patients new to treatment that it moved to Phase III clinical trials — the last stage before drug approval — at the end of last year.

In previous trials, once-daily oral doravirine, an investigational next-generation nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that’s used in combination with tenofovir/emtricitabine (brand name Truvada) was compared to another drug, efavirenz (Sustiva), also used with Truvada, in previously untreated patients with HIV.

Hedy Teppler, executive director for infectious diseases at Merck Research Laboratories, says she’s “encouraged by the antiviral activity and the overall tolerability” of doravirine and it “underscores Merck’s ongoing commitment to the research and development of new therapeutic options for patients with HIV.”

Data from 48 weeks of previous trials showed a 76 percent response rate for doravirine versus 71 percent for efavirenz, and users had increased CD4 cell counts, a lower overall incidence of drug-related adverse events, and a lower incidence of increased total cholesterol. While abnormal dreams showed up in nearly 10 percent of users in both groups, other side effects, such as fatigue, diarrhea, and dizziness, were significantly lower in those taking doravirine.

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