Long-Acting HIV Injectable Preferable to Daily Oral Regimen


A new study being presented at the ongoing IAS conference showed that people with HIV found the injectable therapy, Cabotegravir plus long-acting Rilpivirine (Cabenuva) is more conducive to today’s lifestyles, reduced stigma, and improved adherence.

When treating a chronic condition, adherence to therapy remains paramount. For people with HIV, the advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has greatly extended and improved people’s lives, but it comes with its own set of challenges. For example, it has been reported that for people with HIV having to take a daily pill can be an ongoing adherence issue.

ViiV Healthcare developed its long-acting, injectable therapy, Cabenuva. It is a combination of Cabotegravir plus long-acting Rilpivirine, and it looks to adress the adherence issue as well as other challenges. Specifically taking a daily pill can remind people of the stigma associated with having the virus. In feedback with ViiV Healthcare, people with HIV preferred a long-acting therapy over a daily oral regimen.

“Roughly two thirds preferred the long acting regimen because they didn't have to carry their HIV medications with them like they would if they had a daily oral pill,” ViiV Healthcare CMO Harmony P. Garges, MD, MPH, said of feedback from patients. She also said simple things like having medication sitting out at home can lead to unintended privacy issues, especially if the person with HIV has not openly disclosed their status.

At the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference 2023, ViiV Healthcare is presenting additional 12-month patient preference data from the phase 3 SOLAR study. According to investigators, the data showed that 90% of participants who switched to Cabenuva preferred the long-acting regimen to the daily oral pill, Bictegravir/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide (Biktarvy). Garges also pointed out that Cabenuva was found to be non-inferior to Biktarvy.

As well as leading to improved adherence, there were also emotional and psychological benefits—83% and 61% of participants respectively who switched said they preferred the long-acting treatment as it was more convenient for them or because it stopped them from thinking about their HIV status every day. More than half (59%) cited not having to worry that others may see their pills as a reason they preferred the injections.

According to ViiV, patient reported outcomes like treatment satisfaction and convenience are particularly important for understanding how people living with HIV feel about their treatment and care.

Contagion spoke to Garges who offered further insights on the therapy and the study.

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