|What is Bevirimat?
- Bevirimat is an anti-HIV medication. It is in a new category of HIV medicines known as maturation inhibitors.
- Bevirimat is a derivative of a Chinese herb called Syzigium claviflorum.
- Virus maturation is the process that occurs during the last stages of HIV reproduction, after the virus has been released from the infected cell. It involves the processing of viral proteins and is required for the virus to become infectious. By blocking, or inhibiting, the virus maturation process, new virus cannot go on to infect other cells in the body.
- Because bevirimat works differently than currently available anti-HIV drugs, it will likely be effective for HIV-positive people who are new to anti-HIV treatment or have failed other anti-HIV treatments in the past.
- On June 8, 2010, bevirimat's developer, Myriad Genetics, announced that it was suspending its HIV drug development program. While it is possible that bevirimat and another maturation inhibitor being developed by Myriad will be sold to another company for ongoing development, no licensing agreements have been announced.
What is already known about bevirimat?
- Bevirimat will likely need to be taken once a day, by mouth. The correct dose of bevirimat, in adults and children, has not yet been determined. Though there have been challenges in making a tablet formulation of Bevirimat, current studies are using a tablet.
- Like other drugs, bevirimat might interact with other medications, including those used to treat HIV. It is important that your personal physician and/or the research nurse or study investigator be aware of all drugs you are taking, including those you buy without a prescription.
- Bevirimat's effectiveness can be reduced by changes, or mutations, IN HIV's genetic code. About 40 percent of people—whether they've been on HIV treatment or not—carry virus that has naturally occurring genetic mutations that reduce the ability of bevirimat to control HIV. Also, people who have become resistant to other protease inhibitors might be more likely to carry these mutations than other people, particularly if their virus has three or more protease mutations.
- Bevirimat has completed Phase II studies.
What about drug interactions?
- Because both bevirimat and Reyataz (atazanavir) are processed by the liver's UGT system, there was concern that bevirimat may increase Reyataz blood levels and side effects. A small study showed that the blood levels of neither drug was affected when the two were taken together.
- Data on possible interactions between bevirimat and other drugs have not yet been reported. Studies to assess potential drug interactions are planned.
What is known about side effects?
- Not much is known about the side effects of bevirimat. In the phase IIa study discussed above, the main side effects included nausea and headache. One volunteer with a history of high blood pressure suffered a stroke, but investigators thought it was unrelated to the study treatment.
- More information about the side effect profile of bevirimat will be made available once larger phase II clinical trials are completed.
Who should not take bevirimat?
- It is not known whether bevirimat will harm an unborn baby. It is very important to treat HIV/AIDS during pregnancy to reduce the risk of infecting your baby. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
- It is not known whether bevirimat passes into breast milk and what effect it may have on a nursing baby. To prevent transmission of the virus to uninfected babies, it is recommended that HIV-positive mothers not breast-feed.
Where can I learn more about clinical trials of bevirimat?
- If you would like to find out if you are eligible for any clinical trials that include bevirimat, visit ClinicalTrials.gov, a site run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The site has information about all HIV-related clinical studies in the United States. For more info, you can call their toll-free number at 1-800-HIV-0440 (1-800-448-0440) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.