The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Â announces that it has approved Edurant (rilpivirine) in combination with other antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults who have never taken HIV therapy (treatment-naÃ¯ve).
Edurant belongs to a class of HIV drugs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). The drug works by blocking HIV viral replication. Edurant is to be used as part of a highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimen that is designed to suppress the amount of HIV (viral load) in the blood. Edurant is a pill taken once a day with food.
"Patients may respond differently to various HIV drugs or experience varied side effects. FDAs approval of Edurant provides an additional treatment option for patients who are starting HIV therapy," says Edward Cox, MD, MPH, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDAs Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The safety and effectiveness of Edurant is based on 48-week data from two Phase 3 clinical trials with 1,368 adult subjects with HIV infection, and from a 96-week (with extension to 192 weeks) trial. Patients had not received prior HIV therapy and were selected to receive treatment with Edurant or efavirenz (another FDA-approved NNRTI for the treatment of HIV infection). Both drugs were given in combination with other antiretroviral drugs.
Edurant was as effective as efavirenz in lowering viral load. In the Edurant and efavirenz groups, 83 percent and 80 percent of subjects, respectively, had undetectable amounts of HIV in their blood after 48 weeks of treatment. Patients receiving Edurant who had a higher viral load at the start of therapy were more likely not to respond to the drug than were patients with a lower viral load at the start of therapy. In addition, persons who failed therapy with Edurant developed more drug resistance than patients who failed efavirenz.
The most commonly reported side effects in patients taking Edurant included depression, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), headache and rash. Fewer patients stopped taking the drug due to side effects as compared to patients taking efavirenz.
Edurant does not cure HIV infection. Patients must stay on continuous HIV therapy to control HIV infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses.
Edurant is manufactured by Raritan, N.J-based Tibotec Therapeutics, a division of Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.