By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com June 24 2003 12:00 AM ET
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Reyataz (atazanavir), a once-daily HIV protease inhibitor developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The drug is the first protease inhibitor designed to be taken just once per day, significantly reducing the pill burden of HIV-positive people who often are required to take several pills several times a day. Reyataz is dosed as two 200-milligram pills taken with food. Reyataz also can be taken at the same time as other anti-HIV medications. Studies also have shown that Reyataz does not significantly boost blood-based lipid levels, a problem linked with other protease inhibitors. However, up to 24% of patients taking Reyataz can experience jaundice, resulting in a yellowing of the eyes or the skin. Studies have shown that the side effect does not appear to cause liver damage and that the jaundice dissipates when the drug is stopped. Bristol-Myers Squibb officials say the drug will be available in July. Reyataz's price has not yet been announced by the company.