Study: Trials for promising HIV prevention drug, Truvada, halted


There are several theories as to why the pill form of the drug failed in women. More women taking Truvada complained of unpleasant side effects as opposed to those on the placebo pill. This could have promoted more women to stop taking the pill. Researchers will know if this is the case after they check the women's blood samples to confirm the drug's presence.

Also, the results could have been skewed by the fact that women who became pregnant were taken off the drug as it hadn't been proven safe for use during pregnancy.

Others wonder how much of this oral form of the drug actually made it to the site of infection. The vaginal gels had been shown to be up to a hundred times more effective than oral pills at delivering the retroviral drug to the vaginal walls. This may help to explain why the vaginal form of the drug offered women 54% more protection against infection. Pills and gels are equally as effective at delivering the drug to rectal tissue, which may explain why the oral form of the pill gave gay men 90% more protection against the virus.

While these findings are disappointing, two other studies are underway in African for “pre-exposure prophylaxis.” These tests  are expected to yield results in the next two years.

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Researches stopped a study on the daily antiretroviral pill, Truvada, after early data showed that just as many women on the pill as those on the placebo had become infected with HIV.

An independent panel analyzed the blood tests from nearly 1,900 women scattered about South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania—-about half of the women researchers had hoped to enlist. Of the women taking Truvada and those on a placebo pill, 28 in each group become infected.

The results surprised researchers as a study that came out last November found that gay men who took Truvada pills faithfully had more than 90% protection against HIV infection. Also, a study published in the summer out of South Africa found that women who used a vaginal gel form of the antiretroviral drug, tenofovir—-one of two antiretrovirals in Truvada—-reduced infection rates by

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