What is the role of fusion inhibitors (FIs) in antiretroviral therapy of HIV infection?

Updated: Apr 18, 2019
  • Author: R Chris Rathbun, PharmD, BCPS (AQ-ID), AAHIVP; Chief Editor: John Bartlett, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Fusion inhibitors (FIs) were the first class of antiretroviral medications to target the HIV replication cycle extracellularly and received accelerated FDA approval in 2003. Their unique mechanism of action provides additional options for therapy in patients who are highly treatment resistant.

The use of fusion inhibitors has been limited, however, because of the production time and costs, limited coverage from insurance companies and HIV drug-assistance programs (HDAPs), inconvenient administration (subcutaneous injection), and adverse effect profile. The discovery of additional antiretroviral classes and medications with activity against highly resistant viral strains has further limited the utility of the fusion inhibitors. Currently, enfuvirtide (Fuzeon) is the only product marketed in this class.


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