NICE backs first long-acting injectable treatment for HIV

Thousands of people could be offered a long-acting injectable treatment for HIV on the NHS for the first time under draft guidance published by NICE.

Blood test: HIV-1 injectable treatment available (Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images)

In draft advice published on 18 November NICE backed the use of cabotegravir with rilpivirine - the first long-acting injectable treatment for HIV-1 infection in adults.

Use of the drugs is recommended as an option for adults with HIV-1 infection in whom levels of the virus have been kept at a low level by antiretroviral medications they are already taking, and where there is 'no evidence to suspect viral resistance' and no previous failure of other anti-HIV-1 medicines - nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) and integrase inhibitors (INIs).

Estimates suggest around 13,000 people could be eligible for treatment with cabotegravir (also known as Vocabria) with rilpivirine (also known as Rekambys) in England alone.

Clinical trials have shown that the drug combination 'as effective as oral antiretrovirals' at keeping viral loads at low levels - below 50 copies/ml of blood, a level considered so low it cannot be detected or transmitted between people.

Injectable HIV treatment

Treatment with cabotegravir and rilpivirine would see the drugs administered as two separate intramuscular injections every two months, after initial treatment with oral tablets.

Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Assessment at NICE, said: 'Despite scientific advances HIV is still incurable, but the virus can be controlled by modern treatment.

'However, for some people, having to take daily multi-tablet regimens can be difficult because of drug-related side effects, toxicity, and other psychosocial issues such as stigma or changes in lifestyle. The committee heard that stigma remains an issue for people living with HIV and can have a negative impact on people’s health and relationships.

'We’re pleased therefore to be able to recommend cabotegravir with rilpivirine as a valuable treatment option for people who already have good levels of adherence to daily tablets, but who might prefer an injectable regimen with less frequent dosing.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

  • Clinical Lead Menlo Park Recruitment East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Clinical Lead Menlo Park Recruitment Cottingham
  • Private GP Menlo Park Recruitment Tunbridge Wells
  • GP Partner Menlo Park Recruitment Fareham
  • GP Tuakau Health Centre New Zealand (Tuakau - Franklin Region)

Just published

BMA chair Professor Phil Banfield

BMA urges Lords to block legislation for GMC to regulate PAs

The BMA has urged peers to block legislation that would make the GMC responsible...

Patient satisfaction screen

How a GP practice worked with patients to stop a torrent of complaints

A GP practice has seen complaints drop from 50-plus a day to just four in 10 months...

British Army soldiers marching

How the NHS Op COURAGE service can help support veterans

Armed forces veterans often have unique health needs. Clinical staff from London...

GP consultation

Continuity of care would save millions of GP appointments each year, new study finds

GP workload would be significantly reduced if continuity of care was prioritised...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Visa sponsor shortage threatens GP workforce, locum GPs struggle to find work, record appointments

The GPonline team discusses the key news stories affecting general practice in our...

RCGP sign

RCGP condemns threat to retention funding as third of GPs consider quitting

Funding for GP retention risks being stripped away to cover other financial pressures...