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International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
Revised January 7, 2014

Fact Sheet 470

Combination Medications


WHAT ARE COMBINATION MEDICATIONS?
PK BOOSTERS

1. COMBINATIONS OF REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITORS ("NUKES")
2. COMBINATIONS OF A NON-NUCLEOSIDE REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITOR AND REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITORS
3. COMBINATIONS WITH PROTEASE INHIBITORS
4. COMBINATIONS WITH INTEGRASE INHIBITORS

 


WHAT ARE COMBINATION MEDICATIONS?

Combination medications are pills or tablets that contain more than one medication to fight HIV. They are listed in the tables below. Pharmaceutical companies have been working hard to make their medications easier to take. Part of this effort has been to combine more than one medication in a single pill. These combinations are referred to as fixed-dose combinations, or FDCs.

The first FDC to treat HIV was Combivir by ViiV Healthcare*. Combivir contains two nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors. This was followed by Trizivir, also by ViiV Healthcare, which includes 3 nukes.  Some antiviral products are only available outside the US through the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR.) For more information, see fact sheet 925 or http://www.pepfar.gov.

Be sure that you do not take a combination medication along with any of its components! For example, do not take Truvada with tenofovir (Viread) or emtricitabine (Emtriva); do not take Combivir along with zidovudine (Retrovir) or lamivudine (Epivir.)

 


WHAT ARE PK BOOSTERS?

When some medications are taken by mouth, their levels in the blood are very low. For them to fight HIV, they have to be taken at high doses. Another possibility is to "boost" their blood levels. This is done by slowing down the processing (metabolism) of these drugs. A drug that slows down the metabolism is called a "PK booster." PK stands for pharmacokinetic. This refers to the way that medications are processed by the body.

The first PK booster used in HIV was ritonavir by Abbott. Ritonavir slows down the metabolism of many drugs by the liver. This increases the blood levels of some anti-HIV medications so that a lower dose can be taken. However, it can also increase blood levels of many other drugs. In some cases, this can cause a harmful overdose.

A second PK booster by Gilead Sciences, cobicistat (GS-9350,) was recently approved by the FDA as part of Stribild (see fact sheet 473.)

 


1. COMBINATIONS OF REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITORS ("NUKES")

Year Approved*
Generic Name
Trade Name
Also known as:
Manufacturer
1997 Zidovudine/lamivudine Combivir AZT or ZDV, 3TC ViiV Healthcare & generic
2000 Zidovudine/lamivudine/abacavir Trizivir AZT or ZDV, 3TC, ABC ViiV Healthcare & generic
2004 Abacavir/lamivudine Epzicom ABC, 3TC ViiV Healthcare & generic
2004 Emtricitabine/tenofovir Truvada Emtriva and Viread Gilead Sciences & generic

2. COMBINATIONS OF A NON-NUCLEOSIDE REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITOR AND REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITORS

Year Approved*
Generic Name
LTrade Name
Also known as:
Manufacturer
2006 Efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir Atripla EFV, Emtriva,  & TDF Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead
2011 Emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir Complera Emtriva, Edurant and Viread Gilead and Janssen
 

3. COMBINATIONS OF PROTEASE INHIBITORS (NOTE: a small dose of ritonavir is used to boost blood levels of other protease inhibitors. The amount of ritonavir is not high enough to fight HIV.)

Year*
Generic Name
Trade Name
Also Known As:
Manufacturer
2000 Lopinavir/ritonavir Kaletra, Aluvia LPV/r Abbott

4. COMBINATIONS WITH INTEGRASE INHIBITORS

(Note: a small dose of ritonavir or cobicistat is used to boost blood levels of the integrase inhibitor.)

Year Generic Name Trade Name Also Known As Manufacturer
2012 Elvitegravir/cobicisat/emtricitabine/tenofovir Stribild Quad Gilead

NOTE: There are many combination medications approved as part of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. For more information, see http://www.fda.gov/oia/pepfar.htm 


 

 


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