New research presented at the recent American Society for Microbiology conference offered good news: when HIV-positive people who were undetectable switched their dose of Atripla from every day to every other weekday, they were able to maintain viral suppression.
This is great news for users, as Atripla comes with prevalent side effects including insomnia, unusual dreams, loss of bone density, and kidney function impairment. Fixed dose pills have made HIV treatment convenient, but reducing the frequency could lower costs, fight pill fatigue, and reduce harmful side effects. In fact, those on the reduced frequency showed better bone density and kidney function than daily users.
However, cholesterol levels were higher, likely because reducing tenofovir reduces the drug’s cholesterol-lowering effect. Fears that a non-daily pill regimen might make it harder for people to remember to take them consistently proved unfounded. According to AIDSmap, adherence was good. Adherence was assessed by both patient questionnaires and pill counts.
Researchers Esteban Martinez and Jose Gatell of the University of Barcelona will continue running the study for a full three years to verify that the less frequent dosage of Atripla can be used for long-term treatment.