Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

Injectable Drug Helps HIV Suppression

Drug Doubles Chance of HIV Suppression, but Many Afraid of Self-Injection
WebMD Health News

July 12, 2004 (Bangkok, Thailand) -- Four years ago, Richard Apodaca, an AIDS patient in San Francisco, had given up hope.

"I was taking as many as 60 pills a day and I still couldn't walk, never mind work. HIV had completely decimated my immune system," Apodaca tells WebMD.

But when he told his doctor he didn't want to go on anymore, his doctor asked him to join a clinical trial of an experimental medication, now known as Fuzeon. The treatment, he says, "gave me my life back."

"After beginning treatment with Fuzeon, my energy returned. My HIV levels became undetectable." The 61-year-old says he now has so much energy that he regularly runs marathons.

So why aren't all AIDS patients considering adding Fuzeon to their treatment regimen?

The main reason, doctors tell WebMD, is "injection paranoia." Just like people with diabetes who must inject themselves with insulin several times a day, people with HIV have to inject themselves with Fuzeon twice a day, while continuing on their regular antiviral medications.

But the rewards are great, says Calvin Cohen, MD, medical director of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston.

Fuzeon is the first of its kind; it is known as fusion inhibitors and is always taken with other anti-HIV medications. Unlike other anti-HIV medications Fuzeon helps fights HIV outside CD4 cells. It blocks HIV's ability to infect healthy normal cells. Other anti-HIV drugs work after HIV has already entered (infected) the CD4 cell.

Reporting here at the XV International AIDS Conference, Cohen says people with HIV who use the medication can double their chances of suppressing the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels compared with people taking anti-HIV medications without Fuzeon.

"Within just three months, patients taking Fuzeon are twice as likely to [wipe the virus out of their blood] as those who are not taking the drug," he says.

And by two years, 26% of patients on Fuzeon plus their usual anti-HIV medications had undetectable viral levels, compared with 13% of patients who were not taking Fuzeon, says Cohen, an investigator in the T-20 vs. Optimized Regimen Only (TORO) study.

Today on WebMD

How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
HIV AIDS Screening
man opening condom wrapper
HIV AIDS Treatment
Discrimination Stigma
Treatment Side Effects
grilled chicken and vegetables
obese man standing on scale
cold sore