News Briefs: Alternating drug regimen may help HIV+ patients

A new study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows that for some HIV-positive people, a drug regimen of one week on, and one week off may prove beneficial. This approach is known as "structured intermittent therapy."

Ten patients participated in the study and who, at the start of the program, were being treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy. During the study they switched to an intermittent program, meaning they were given a week of the intensive HIV medication combinations followed by a week without any medications. Results showed that the patients not only suffered no ill-effects on their health, but experienced a reduction in some side-effects. If such therapy programs pan out, not only will patients benefit, but the cost involved with supplying and administering the medications could be reduced. Researchers will report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The bulk of the research was conducted within the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation.