The Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of a new HIV drug, Prezista, has been welcomed by organisations as an effective option for treatment resistant patients, with fewer side effects.
Previously only available to a select few in clinical trials and expanded access programs, Prezista has been been made available for general circulation, and PBS reimbursement schemes.
“Expanded availability for HIV treatment experienced patients offers an important new option, to achieve a durable response in suppressing HIV to undetectable levels, without attendant toxicities,” National Association of People Living with HIV (NAPWA) Executive Director Jo Watson said.
HIV researcher Dr Cassy Workman reiterated that the listing marked a “significant advance” in options.
“This is certainly an improvement on previous protease inhibitors,” she said. She referred to trial results that showed the drug was better tolerated than previous options, was less likely to cause gastro problems or jaundice and yellowing of the eyes.
“There is a critical need to ensure the ongoing expansion of medication options for people who are treatment experienced,” Positive Life NSW CEO Rob Lake added.
“Side effects are an ongoing issue, but more recent treatments continue to show decreasing side effects, and that reflects the important of listening to the people who take these medications, particularly for long periods of time.”
Currently only available as a twice-daily regimen, for people who have shown resistance to at least one antiretroviral program, Workman said the treatment could soon be available in a once-a-day form and may become available to more people.
“There’s some very good clinical trial data on early use of the drug, and we hope to see it soon gain a PBS listing for patients who have never used HIV therapies before.”

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