Could this be PrEP 2.0?
A large-scale clinical trial found that the injectable antiretroviral drug cabotegravir administered once every 8 weeks resulted in fewer new cases of HIV than daily doses of Truvada taken as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Begun in December 2016, the study involved more than 4,500 participants around the world.
All were deemed to be at risk of contracting HIV and randomly assigned to receive either a daily dose of Truvada or an injection every eight weeks. Those in the injectable group also were given a placebo pill, and those given Truvada received placebo injections.
After conducting an interim review of the trial, the study’s results clearly showed cabotegravir actually reduced HIV infection rates more than daily oral doses of Truvada.
According to Science Magazine, 12 infections occurred in the cabotegravir group versus 38 in the group that received Truvada. Both control groups were of the same size.
Statistically, that represents a 0.38% incidence in the cabotegravir group versus 1.21% in the Truvada one, a 69% difference in new infection rates.
The results were deemed so impressive that all participants, including those receiving placebos, will be offered the injections beginning this week.
Science Magazine reports the apparent success (the results of the study haven’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet) could be a more attractive alternative than a daily regimen of pills which has proved difficult for many people.
One drawback to the daily oral dose of Truvada has been the difficulty for some people to stay on schedule. A missed dose here or there can reduce the regimen’s effectiveness. On the flip-side of that equation, though, those who choose to use the long-acting injectable medication might miss a scheduled clinic visit which could reduce its effectiveness.