Bristol-Myers Squibb has begun enrolling patients in an early access program for the investigational HIV protease inhibitor atazanavir. The drug, currently in Phase III clinical trials, is a second-generation azapeptide protease inhibitor that in tests to date has been shown effective in lowering HIV viral loads without affecting blood lipid levels, which first-generation protease inhibitor medications often affect.
The expanded access program is available to HIV-positive adults who are failing their current drug regimens and have HIV viral loads above 5,000 copies and T-cell counts below 300. The drug also will be made available to certain patients experiencing high blood triglyceride levels that can't be lowered by available medications. Patients can be enrolled in the expanded access program only by their physicians. Doctors may call (877) 726-7327 for more information about the program.