4 out of 5 eligible patients missing opportunity to benefit from latest HIV breakthrough


Healthcare professionals and patients map out steps towards optimal use of FUZEON®

Bangkok, 12 July – Despite the clear benefits for patients and the high rates of resistance in the west, new research has shown that currently only 1 out of 5 eligible patients is benefiting from the latest HIV breakthrough, FUZEON®, primarily due to the need to inject the drug. At the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok today, new guidance will be presented on how healthcare professionals and patients can work together to effectively incorporate FUZEON into patients' daily treatment routine.

"FUZEON is a revolutionary therapy and for the majority of patients the significant improvements in health far outweigh the burden of the injection. It is alarming that many of these patients offered FUZEON are not accepting the offer due to the fear of injection and are missing out on the modern era of HIV therapy," comments Professor Joep Lange, President of the International AIDS Society.

Comprehensive FUZEON benefits seen by 3 months and maintained at 2 years

Dramatic FUZEON virological benefits can be seen as early as 1 week. Within just 3 months, FUZEON patients are twice as likely to achieve undetectable levels of HIV compared to those who are not taking FUZEON. Furthermore, data show these benefits are maintained at 2 years. FUZEON patients also reported approximately half the incidence of diarrhoea, a common and often debilitating side effect associated with HIV therapy.

"We urge physicians and nurses to work closely with their patients during the first 3 months of FUZEON therapy, by which time dramatic benefits should be seen and self injection should have become routine," comments Dr Mike Youle, Royal Free Hospital, London.

The pivotal role of physicians and nurses

"It is essential that, as physicians, we present FUZEON to all triple class experienced patients, balancing the remarkable improvements in viral load, CD4 count and quality of life, with the need for self-injection. Our challenge is to identify ways in which we can improve the offer of FUZEON to help patients understand how FUZEON could improve their quality of life and in all likelihood live longer as a result of sustained viral suppression," concludes Dr Youle.

Nurses have a pivotal role in helping patients to understand the offer of FUZEON and incorporate injections into their daily lives. Dominick Varsalone, a nurse from the North Jersey Community Research Initiative, New Jersey, comments: "The true success of our empowerment programme can be gauged by the fact that, of the 64 patients prescribed FUZEON in our clinic since drug launch, 91% are still on FUZEON. My FUZEON patients are greatly motivated by the improvements in their health, sometimes just a week after beginning therapy. FUZEON experienced patients are also providing invaluable support and practical advice for new patients beginning FUZEON therapy."

Roche's continued commitment to patients

Roche has activities under way in all countries where FUZEON is available to help educate and support patients with their therapy. These include nurse-to-patient and patient-to-patient support initiatives to help coach patients through the first 3 critical months of therapy to provide their best chance for sustained success with FUZEON.

A closer look at the 96 week data

A closer look at the 96 week data confirm that FUZEON based regimens continue to provide a significant, durable response to pre-treated HIV patients over 2 years of treatment. The safety profile was confirmed with no changes in the adverse event profile between 1 and 2 years of therapy. Consistent and continuous improvements in immune strength were seen in FUZEON patients over 96 weeks. FUZEON patients remained twice as likely to show undetectable HIV as those patients who did not receive FUZEON. In addition, more than half of patients who received FUZEON completed 2 years of treatment.

HIV resistance – "ticking time bomb" in the west

"There is a disturbing misconception that 'access for all' is just a challenge for the developing world. Access to optimal combination therapy remains an urgent issue in the west where alarming levels of resistance to HIV therapies is a ticking time bomb. While people continue to die from AIDS in the western world – with more than 15,000 patients dying in the US in 2003 alone – there is an urgent need to use all drugs currently available to provide the most effective combination treatment for patients," commented Professor Lange.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.