An innovative delivery method for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medications has been developed through use of a transdermal patch, the first of its kind to treat HIV. This research is being presented at the 2011 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 23-27.
HIV is an ever-growing worldwide epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, in 2009 an estimated 33.3 million people worldwide were infected. The Centers for Disease Control estimated that in 2008, 1.2 million people age 13 and older were living with HIV in the U.S. Many of these individuals take up to 20 pills daily to keep their viral load low.
Lead researcher Anthony Ham, Ph.D., and his colleagues from ImQuest Biosciences in Frederick, Md., developed a transdermal patch which releases more than 96 percent of the HIV medication over the course of seven days. "As we enter the fourth decade of HIV/AIDS, this new delivery method will hopefully reduce the numerous pills most HIV patients have to take daily," said Ham. "Taking medicines regularly reduces symptoms in HIV patients and extends lives. The transdermal patch offers an easier option for patients to comply with their medication regimes as compared to current treatments."
This non-invasive patch also shows a potential economic advantage in terms of shipping costs as compared to pills or needles. With an estimated 15 million people living with HIV in developing countries and only 5.3 million people with access to treatment, this offers a more affordable and accessible way to address this unmet medical need.
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