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

New HIV Drug Curbs Drug-Resistant HIV

Experimental Drug, Called Etravirine, Shows Benefits as Part of HIV Treatment 'Cocktail'
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 5, 2007 -- An experimental HIV drug called etravirine may help treat drug-resistant HIV as part of an HIV drug "cocktail" that also includes the HIV medication Prezista.

That news -- published in The Lancet's July 7 edition -- may mean greater survival for people with HIV.

"This study is one of the most significant worldwide HIV/AIDS clinical trials in recent years," says researcher William Towner, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Southern California, in a Kaiser Permanente news release.

Towner is the medical director of Kaiser Permanente Southern California's HIV/AIDS Research Trials. He is also the Kaiser Permanente Southern California regional HIV/AIDS physician coordinator.

HIV Drug Study

The study included nearly 600 people with drug-resistant HIV in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and eight European nations.

The patients had already unsuccessfully tried other drugs that target HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The researchers -- who included Towner and Adriano Lazzarin, MD, of San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy -- split the patients into two groups.

All of the patients took various HIV drugs including Prezista and Norvir. Half of the patients took etravirine in addition to Prezista, Norvir, and other HIV medications.

Etravirine Study Results

After taking their assigned drugs for six months, a greater percentage of patients taking the addition of etravirine than those not taking etravirine reduced their blood level of HIV to very low levels.

In other words, adding etravirine to a mixture of medicines for HIV helped curb drug-resistant HIV.

Etravirine didn't seem to add new side effects to those seen with other treatments for HIIV. Side effects with etravirine included diarrhea, nausea, and rash.

Etravirine is "an encouraging new agent in this antiretroviral class," write the researchers.

Their study was funded by the drug company Tibotec, which makes etravirine and Prezista. Tibotec is a Johnson & Johnson company.

Several of the researchers who worked on the etravirine study are Tibotec employees. Others note financial ties to various drug companies.

New Hope for Drug-Resistant HIV?

The Lancet also includes an editorial by Swiss researchers including Bernard Hirschel, MD, of Geneva University Hospital's division of infectious diseases.

Hirschel's team pooled data from two etravirine studies published in The Lancet. They conclude that adding etravirine to Prezista and other HIV drugs halves patients' chances of HIV worsening within six months.

"People care whether they get sick and die, and rather less whether their laboratory tests are normal," write Hirschel and colleagues.

"Occasionally, one hears that the days of innovation in HIV therapy are over and that there is neither the scientific nor economic incentive for further progress," they continue. "Such pessimism is not justified."

In the journal, Hirschel notes that he worked on a previous etravirine study and is connected to an ongoing study on Prezista. Hirschel also discloses financial ties to drug companies including Tibotec.

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