Injectable Drug Helps HIV Suppression
Drug Doubles Chance of HIV Suppression, but Many Afraid of Self-Injection
Yet despite Fuzeon's benefits, four of 10 eligible patients are not even offered the drug, he said. "And of the other six, three patients reject the drug because they don't think they can inject themselves," he says.
But contrary to common belief, the vast majority of patients do not view the injections as a hurdle once they become aware of the drug's benefits, Cohen tells WebMD.
In a new survey, 67% of patients said the drug was "very easy or easy to use," with only 19% finding it difficult to use, he explains.
"Patients taking Fuzeon find it much easier to inject themselves than people who haven't tried it think they will," he said at a press briefing.
Keikawus Arasteh, MD, a doctor at Vivantes Auguste-Viktoria-Klinikum, II, in Berlin, who worked on the TORO trial, says, "We know this drug works. Now the company has to spend time setting up clinics where patients can be taught the proper way to use the drug. Too many doctors are reluctant to prescribe it because of the extra time it will take to properly train patients."
Helene Gayle, MD, MPH, director of HIV, Tuberculosis, and Reproductive Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, says that while Fuzeon is effective for many patients, it is premature to consider it as first-line therapy.
"When a person's life is on the line, self-injection with drugs such as Fuzeon is a viable option as salvage therapy," she says.
Formerly known as T-20, Fuzeon is made by Roche of Nutley, N.J. and Trimeris of Durham, N.C., which sponsored the trial.