- New treatment can enable some people living with HIV to reduce the days they receive treatment from 365 to 6 per year
GSK Ireland on behalf of ViiV Healthcare is pleased to announce that eligible people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Ireland now have access to Vocabria (cabotegravir long-acting injection) developed by ViiV Healthcare in combination with Rekambys (rilpivirine long-acting injection) developed by Janssen Sciences Ireland UC (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Vocabria and Rekambys is indicated for the treatment of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection in adults who are virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL), on a stable antiretroviral regimen without present or past evidence of viral resistance to, and no prior virological failure with agents of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and integrase inhibitor (INI) class.1
This marks the first time that people living with HIV in Ireland can access a complete, long-acting regimen once every two-months. This could reduce the number of days receiving treatment from 365 to 6 per year, when on the continuation injection phase of treatment.
Professor Sam McConkey, Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons said:
“Over the last 20 years great progress has been made in developing effective treatments for HIV that can suppress the virus in the body to undetectable levels, however until now it has required daily treatment. The introduction of a long-acting injectable treatment means that eligible people living with HIV will only need to be treated every two months, rather than every day. This approach has the potential to help lessen the burden of treatment and reduce the worry and stigma that comes with having to take treatments daily. We have used IM cabotegravir in the context of a phase III clinical trial in Ireland and the patients in the trial were delighted to participate.”
Dr Nneka Nwokolo, Head of Global Patient Affairs at ViiV Healthcare and honorary consultant in sexual health and HIV medicine said:
“At ViiV Healthcare, our mission is to ensure that no one living with HIV is left behind and we recognise that there are still unmet needs in both the choice of medication they take, and how often they take it. We understand that no medicine works for every individual living with HIV, so we are committed to offering innovative choices that help address their evolving needs. We are delighted that the first and only complete long-acting injectable HIV medicine is now available in Ireland, allowing us to focus on the people living with the condition and provide them with treatment options that remove the need for regular daily HIV tablets.”
Outlining the need for a less frequent dosing regimen, the largest global HIV patient-reported outcomes study to-date conducted by ViiV Healthcare, Positive Perspectives Wave 2, which included
50 Irish participants, found that when asked about their treatment aspirations and attitudes towards innovative medications, 55% (n=1306/2389) of participants said they would prefer not having to take medication every day, as long as their HIV stays suppressed.2 In addition, 58% (n=1394/2389) noted that taking daily HIV medication acts as a constant reminder of HIV in their lives, while up to 38% (n=906/2389) of participants reported anxiety around the fact that taking daily treatment could increase the chances of revealing their HIV status to others.3
Stephen O’Hare, Executive Director at HIV Ireland said:
“HIV Ireland welcomes the option of longacting injectable antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV. For those eligible, this choice of treatment could be game changing for people who struggle with their current regimens, by eliminating the daily pill burden. The impact of this new treatment option could greatly improve adherence and reduce the burden for marginalised and harder-to-reach communities who may prefer the 2-monthly regimen to a daily oral pill.”
The combination of cabotegravir and rilpivirine is the first and only once-every-two-month, complete long-acting injectable regimen for virologically suppressed adults living with HIV-1. 4, 5 The
ATLAS-2M study, which included 1,045 participants, the once-every-two-month regimen showed non-inferior efficacy to monthly cabotegravir and rilpivirine injections. The safety profile was similar between dosing groups, the most common adverse reactions included injection site reactions, headache, and pyrexia (fever).6 Importantly, a secondary endpoint in the ATLAS-2M clinical trial looking at patient preference showed that treatment once every two months was preferred by 98% of participants over daily oral therapy.6 Cabotegravir and rilpivirine are administered as two
intramuscular injections in the buttocks, during the same visit at a specialist clinic by a healthcare professional.1
ViiV Healthcare’s cabotegravir in combination with Janssen’s rilpivirine was co-developed as part of a collaboration with Janssen and builds on ViiV Healthcare’s industry-leading portfolio that is centered on delivering innovative medicines for the HIV community.
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