Kenneth Mayer, MD, discusses new therapies that may have a positive impact on pre-exposure prophylaxis adherence and treatment.
Kenneth Mayer, MD, Medical Research Director, Professor of Medicine, Fenway Health, Harvard University, discusses new therapies that may have a positive impact on pre-exposure prophylaxis adherence and treatment.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“The current medication for [pre-exposure prophylaxis] PrEP is tenofovir and emtricitabine, so it’s a co-formulated pill, two antiretroviral medications together, one pill once a day, which is great, and generally well-tolerated but some people have [gastrointestinal] GI side effects; it can affect kidney function, so, it has to be monitored carefully. It can affect bone, if people have a predisposition toward osteoporosis or osteopenia. So, we definitely want to have other medications for PrEP.
The most exciting work going on now is large efficacy trials looking at injectable PrEP, so this is antiretroviral medication that can be given as infrequently as every 8 weeks. We were involved in one of the studies that showed that this approach is safe and it’s well-tolerated, but we don’t know yet if it’s as effective as oral medication. That study is currently underway in the United States, and several countries around the world, and then there’s a parallel study getting underway in women in sub-Saharan Africa. So, in the next 2 to 3 years, we’ll know if injectable PrEP is as good as oral PrEP.
There’s also other approaches on the horizon, [such as] immune approaches, giving infusions of monoclonal antibodies; this is very similar [to] like if somebody has a high exposure to tetanus, we give tetanus toxoid, so this is giving antibodies as pre-exposure prophylaxis, so that’s another exciting approach.”