The European Commission has granted authorization for GSK’s HIV-focused unit, ViiV Healthcare, to market its long-acting injectable and tablet form of cabotegravir, a drug used for HIV prevention. Cabotegravir is recommended for use in combination with safer sex practices as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of sexually-acquired HIV-1 infection in high-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kilograms.
The drug, sold under the brand name Apretude, is already approved for use in several countries including the United States, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, and Brazil. This recent approval by the European Commission will enable its usage in European Union member states.
Cabotegravir is a integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI), a class of antiretroviral drugs that works by blocking the action of the enzyme integrase, essential for HIV replication. By inhibiting integrase, the drug prevents the integration of viral DNA into the host cell’s DNA, thereby stopping the virus from multiplying.
The long-acting injectable form of cabotegravir is administered by a healthcare professional once every 8 weeks as an intramuscular injection, while the tablet form is taken orally once daily. This long-acting formulation is expected to improve adherence to HIV prevention medication, as it reduces the need for daily dosing.
The approval of cabotegravir in the European Union expands the options available for HIV prevention and offers an alternative to other approved PrEP medications. As with any medication, it is important for healthcare providers to educate patients about the benefits and risks of cabotegravir and to ensure regular follow-up monitoring.
– Reuters article by Eva Mathews