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FDA Approves First Extended-Release, Injectable Drug Regimen for Adults Living with HIV

by The Black Wall Street Times

These illustrations, provided by drugmaker ViiV Healthcare on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, shows a rendering of the packaging and vials containing its new HIV treatment, Cabenuva, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. U.S. regulators have approved the first long-acting combo drug for HIV, monthly shots that can replace the daily pills that have been used for decades to control infection with the AIDS virus. Thursday’s approval of Cabenuva is expected to make it easier for people to stay on track with their HIV medicines and to do so with more privacy(ViiV Healthcare via AP)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last Thursday approved Cabenuva (cabotegravir and rilpivirine, injectable formulation) as a complete regimen for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in adults to replace a current antiretroviral regimen in those who are virologically suppressed on a stable antiretroviral regimen with no history of treatment failure and with no known or suspected resistance to either cabotegravir or rilpivirine. This is the first FDA-approved injectable, complete regimen for HIV-infected adults that is administered once a month.

The FDA also approved Vocabria (cabotegravir, tablet formulation), which should be taken in combination with oral rilpivirine (Edurant) for one month prior to starting treatment with Cabenuva to ensure the medications are well-tolerated before switching to the extended-release injectable formulation.

“Currently, the standard of care for patients with HIV includes patients taking daily pills to adequately manage their condition. This approval will allow some patients the option of receiving once-monthly injections in lieu of a daily oral treatment regimen,” said John Farley, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Having this treatment available for some patients provides an alternative for managing this chronic condition.”

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The safety and efficacy of Cabenuva were established through two randomized, open-label, controlled clinical trials in 1,182 HIV-infected adults who were virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies/milliliter) before initiation of treatment with Cabenuva. Patients in both trials continued to show virologic suppression at the conclusion of each study, and no clinically relevant change from baseline in CD4+ cell counts was observed.

The most common adverse reactions with Cabenuva were injection site reactions, fever (pyrexia), fatigue, headache, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, sleep disorders, dizziness and rash. Cabenuva should not be used if there is a known previous hypersensitivity reaction to cabotegravir or rilpivirine, or in patients who are not virally suppressed (HIV-1 RNA greater than 50 copies/milliliter).

Cabenuva and Vocabria were granted Fast Track and Priority Review designation by the FDA.

The FDA granted the approval of Cabenuva and Vocabria to ViiV Healthcare.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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