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Antiretroviral Drugs

Approved antiretroviral drugs

'Truvada' antiretroviral pillsThere are currently more than 20 approved antiretroviral drugs in the US and Europe (including combined formulations) and many more in the expanded access programmes and trials.

Most antiretroviral drugs have at least three names. Sometimes a drug is referred to by its research or chemical name, such as AZT. The second name is the generic name for all drugs with the same chemical structure; for example AZT is also known as zidovudine. The third name is the brand name given by the pharmaceutical company; one of the brand names for zidovudine is Retrovir. Lastly, an abbreviation of the common name might sometimes also be used, such as ZDV, which is the fourth name given to zidovudine.

The drugs listed here are those approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This list does not contain new drugs that are currently under development and still in clinical trials, which are covered in our new AIDS drugs page. Further information should be available from your doctor.

Multi-class combinations:

CombinationBrand nameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
EFV + TDF + FTCAtriplaTake on an empty stomach12-Jul-06
d4T + 3TC + NVP-Take with or without foodTentative only*
AZT + 3TC+ NVP-Take with or without foodTentative only*
TITLETEMPTEMPTEMP

Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs):

AbbreviationGeneric nameBrand nameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
3TClamivudineEpivirTake with or without food17-Nov-95
ABCabacavirZiagenTake with or without food17-Dec-98
AZT or ZDVzidovudine1RetrovirTake with or without food19-Mar-87
d4Tstavudine2ZeritTake with or without food24-Jun-94
ddIdidanosine3Videx ECTake on an empty stomach 30 mins before, or 2 hours after, a meal31-Oct-00
FTCemtricitabineEmtrivaTake with or without food02-Jul-03
TDFtenofovirVireadTake with or without food26-Oct-01

Combined NRTIs:

CombinationBrand nameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
ABC + 3TCEpzicom (US)Take with or without food02-Aug-04
Kivexa (Europe)
ABC + AZT + 3TCTrizivir4Take with or without food14-Nov-00
AZT + 3TCCombivirTake with or without food27-Sep-97
TDF + FTCTruvadaTake with or without food02-Aug-04
d4T + 3TC-Take with or without foodTentative only*

Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs):

AbbreviationGeneric nameBrand nameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
DLVdelavirdine5RescriptorTake with or without food04-Apr-97
EFVefavirenzSustiva (US)Take on an empty stomach17-Sep-98
Stocrin (Europe)
ETRetravirine6IntelenceTake following a meal18-Jan-08
NVPnevirapineViramuneTake with or without food21-Jun-96
 rilpivirine7EdurantTake with food20-May-11

Protease Inhibitors (PIs):

AbbreviationGeneric nameBrand nameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
APVamprenavirAgeneraseTake with or without food; avoid high-fat meals15-Apr-99
FOS-APVfosamprenavirLexiva (US)Take with or without food20-Oct-03
Telzir (Europe)
ATVatazanavir8ReyatazTake with food20-Jun-03
DRVdarunavirPrezistaTake with food23-Jun-06
IDVindinavirCrixivanTake on an empty stomach 1 hour before, or 2 hours after, a meal. Avoid taking within an hour of taking didanosine (ddI or Videx)13-Mar-96
LPV/RTVlopinavir + ritonavirKaletra9Some formulations should be taken with food15-Sep-00
Aluvia (developing world)
NFVnelfinavirViraceptTake with food14-Mar-97
RTVritonavirNorvirTake with food if possible01-Mar-96
SQVsaquinavirInvirase (hard gel capsule)10Take within two hours of food06-Dec-95
TPVtipranavir11AptivusTake with or without food22-Jun-05

Fusion or Entry Inhibitors:

AbbreviationGeneric nameBrand NameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
T-20enfuvirtide12FuzeonMust be prepared from a powder and injected into thigh, arm or abdomen13-Mar-03
MVCmaraviroc13Celsentri (Europe)Take with or without food18-Sep-07
Selzentry (US)

Integrase Inhibitors:

AbbreviationGeneric nameBrand NameFood restrictions and notesDate of FDA approval
RALraltegravir14IsentressTake with or without food12-Oct-07
  1. The patent for AZT has expired and generic versions are available in the US.
  2. Stavudine is no longer recommended for initial therapy by the World Health Organisation, as described in their 2013 Consolidated Guidelines on ARV treatment. The US Department of Health and Human Services also no longer recommend stavudine as a ‘preferred’ or ‘alternative’ component in initial treatment. The European Medicines Agency recommend that it should only be used when there are "no appropriate alternatives" and only for "as short a time as possible".
  3. The patent for ddI has expired and generic versions are available in the US. The manufacturer has discontinued a tablet version.
  4. The British HIV Association (BHIVA) recommends that Trizivir "should only be considered as a starting regimen in very occasional circumstances, for example informed patient choice based on likely poor adherence if alternative options are used, or concomitant medication needed such as for TB". Trizivir is listed as a ‘possible’ treatment option in the US, but it is not the ‘preferred’ treatment option.
  5. Delavirdine is licensed in the US but not in the UK.
  6. Etravirine is approved in the US and the UK for treatment-experienced patients only.
  7. Rilpivirine is licensed in the US but not the UK.
  8. Atazanavir is not licensed as a starting regimen in the UK. In the US, ritonavir-boosted atazanavir has been approved as a ‘preferred’ initial treatment, while unboosted atazanavir is an ‘alternative’ for initial treatment.
  9. Due to reported adverse health events such as serious heart, kidney or breathing problems in premature babies taking Kaletra, the FDA issued the following warning in March 2011: "The use of Kaletra oral solution should be avoided in premature babies until 14 days after their due date, or in full-term babies younger than 14 days of age unless a healthcare professional believes that the benefit of using Kaletra oral solution to treat HIV infection immediately after birth outweighs the potential risks". For more information: 'Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir): Label change - serious health problems in premature babies'.
  10. Roche Pharmaceuticals have discontinued the sale and distribution of Fortovase brand saquinavir soft gel capsules in the US.
  11. Tipranavir is not licensed as a starting regimen in the UK. The US Department of Health and Human Services do not recommend tipranavir for initial treatment.
  12. Enfuvirtide is not licensed as a starting regimen in the UK. The US Department of Health and Human Services do not recommend enfuvirtide for initial treatment.
  13. Maraviroc is not licensed as a starting regimen in the UK.
  14. Raltegravir is not licensed as a starting regimen in the UK.

* Because of patent laws, generic forms given tentative approval are available in certain developing countries only.

 

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