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Antiretroviral Drugs

Approved antiretroviral drugs

There 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:

Combination Brand name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
EFV + TDF + FTC Atripla Take on an empty stomach 12-Jul-06
d4T + 3TC + NVP - Take with or without food Tentative only*
AZT + 3TC+ NVP - Take with or without food Tentative only*
TITLE TEMP TEMP TEMP

Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs):

Abbreviation Generic name Brand name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
3TC lamivudine Epivir Take with or without food 17-Nov-95
ABC abacavir Ziagen Take with or without food 17-Dec-98
AZT or ZDV zidovudine1 Retrovir Take with or without food 19-Mar-87
d4T stavudine2 Zerit Take with or without food 24-Jun-94
ddI didanosine3 Videx EC Take on an empty stomach 30 mins before, or 2 hours after, a meal 31-Oct-00
FTC emtricitabine Emtriva Take with or without food 02-Jul-03
TDF tenofovir Viread Take with or without food 26-Oct-01

Combined NRTIs:

Combination Brand name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
ABC + 3TC Epzicom (US) Take with or without food 02-Aug-04
Kivexa (Europe)
ABC + AZT + 3TC Trizivir4 Take with or without food 14-Nov-00
AZT + 3TC Combivir Take with or without food 27-Sep-97
TDF + FTC Truvada Take with or without food 02-Aug-04
d4T + 3TC - Take with or without food Tentative only*

Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs):

Abbreviation Generic name Brand name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
DLV delavirdine5 Rescriptor Take with or without food 04-Apr-97
EFV efavirenz Sustiva (US) Take on an empty stomach 17-Sep-98
Stocrin (Europe)
ETR etravirine6 Intelence Take following a meal 18-Jan-08
NVP nevirapine Viramune Take with or without food 21-Jun-96
  rilpivirine7 Edurant Take with food 20-May-11

Protease Inhibitors (PIs):

Abbreviation Generic name Brand name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
APV amprenavir Agenerase Take with or without food; avoid high-fat meals 15-Apr-99
FOS-APV fosamprenavir Lexiva (US) Take with or without food 20-Oct-03
Telzir (Europe)
ATV atazanavir8 Reyataz Take with food 20-Jun-03
DRV darunavir Prezista Take with food 23-Jun-06
IDV indinavir Crixivan Take 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/RTV lopinavir + ritonavir Kaletra9 Some formulations should be taken with food 15-Sep-00
Aluvia (developing world)
NFV nelfinavir Viracept Take with food 14-Mar-97
RTV ritonavir Norvir Take with food if possible 01-Mar-96
SQV saquinavir Invirase (hard gel capsule)10 Take within two hours of food 06-Dec-95
TPV tipranavir11 Aptivus Take with or without food 22-Jun-05

Fusion or Entry Inhibitors:

Abbreviation Generic name Brand Name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
T-20 enfuvirtide12 Fuzeon Must be prepared from a powder and injected into thigh, arm or abdomen 13-Mar-03
MVC maraviroc13 Celsentri (Europe) Take with or without food 18-Sep-07
Selzentry (US)

Integrase Inhibitors:

Abbreviation Generic name Brand Name Food restrictions and notes Date of FDA approval
RAL raltegravir14 Isentress Take with or without food 12-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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