Clinical pharmacology studies, among other issues, the interactions that may exist between antiretroviral drugs, both among themselves (antiretroviral therapy combines several drugs) and with other medication not directly related to HIV treatment.
Interactions between antiretrovirals and other drugs are frequent in patients with HIV, especially in those of older age. In this sense, some studies show that up to 40% of patients receiving treatment use some additional medication that could interact with antiretroviral drugs, which could ultimately affect their efficacy and safety. On the part of patients, it is essential that people with HIV inform their doctors about all the products they are taking, including medicines that they buy with or without a prescription, dietary supplements, herbal remedies or recreational drugs.
At the Fight AIDS Foundation there is a research line in this area. Its manager is Dr. José Moltó and, in addition to studying its specific field, the line collaborates with projects of other research lines. In 2016, for example, the collaboration with the line of immunology and vaccines was consolidated, collaborating in a study that combined a therapeutic vaccine against HIV with a drug to reactivate the virus reservoir (to awaken latent HIV in some body cells despite the effect of antiretroviral treatment).
One of the most recent examples of the work done by the clinical pharmacology line is found in the DRV/c-ETR study, which was conducted to evaluate the safety and presence of drug interactions in the combination of Darunavir boosted with Cobicistat (800/150mg every 24 hours) and Etravirine (400mg every 24 hours) in patients infected with HIV. 30 people participated.
Last December the results of this study were published in an article on Journal of Antimicrobial Therapy. Researchers in charge concluded that the combination of Darunavir, Cobicistat and Etravirine may result in inadequately low concentrations of Cobicistat and Darunavir, which could increase the risk of antiretroviral treatment failure. Therefore, in case of having to combine Darunavir with Etravirine, it would be recommended to potentiate it with Ritonavir instead of Cobicistat.
The prevention, identification and proper management of drug interactions is considered a vitally important aspect among HIV specialists.