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Panel sets global guidelines for the use of Fuzeon

Panel sets global guidelines for the use of Fuzeon

A panel of experts in Paris on Monday released international guidelines for treating HIV-positive adults with the HIV fusion inhibitor Fuzeon. The nine-member panel called for intensified training of health care workers and HIV patients on how to properly inject the medication, including regular follow-up assessment visits. The panel also recommended that Fuzeon be given to patients with CD4-cell counts of at least 100 whenever possible and that the medication be dosed while a patient is still responsive to at least two other anti-HIV drugs. "For early-stage patients, the objective of therapy is for the patient to achieve an undetectable level of HIV," the panel said in a press release. "For later-stage patients, however, the focus should shift toward achieving a boosted immune system (CD4 count) rather than focusing exclusively on a drop in HIV levels." Fuzeon is a synthetic peptide that works by preventing HIV from attaching to and infecting immune system cells. Clinical trials of the drug showed the medication boosted CD4-cell counts and lowered HIV viral loads in patients who had developed resistance to protease inhibitors. The drug, which is priced at about $20,000 for a one-year supply, making it the most expensive anti-HIV drug on the market, is jointly marketed by Roche and Trimeris.

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