Thursday, January 19, 2006

Skip the drug holiday

Lotsa news stories out now about the cancellation of the "drug holiday" study. For more detailed information about the study and why it was cancelled, see the NAIAD page that presents the information in Q&A format (with way too many acronyms). Says NAIAD:

How might these new findings affect the management of HIV disease?

The current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents (Oct. 6, 2005) state: “Several clinical trials have been conducted to better understand the role of treatment interruption in these patients, yielding conflicting results. The Panel [the Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV Infection convened by DHHS] notes that partial virologic suppression from combination therapy has been associated with clinical benefits, thus interruption is generally not recommended unless it is done in a clinical trial setting.”

The data from the SMART trial provide evidence that episodic use of ART based on CD4+ cell levels as used in the study is inferior to use of continuous therapy for treatment-experienced patients and thus should not be routinely recommended. [emphasis added]

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