Injectable PrEP Medication
First injectable PrEP medication
On December 20, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first injectable PrEP medication called Apretude. This drug implementation is in line with the medical industry’s aim to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV and minimize the rising cases each year. Apretude is suitable for usage among adults and individuals who weigh at least 77 pounds. This medication is initially administered as two initiation injections one month apart. Right after the initial doses, Apretude is injected two months thereafter.
What are the uses of Apretude? How is it different from PrEP pills? And lastly, what are the things to know about before using this medication?
Apretude is the first and only injectable PrEP medication for reducing the risk of HIV acquisition. It is specifically designed to help prevent the risk of infection when taken every other month. It also diminishes the burden of having to take PrEP pills daily. It contains the active ingredient Cabotegravir, an antiviral agent that prevents HIV from multiplying or replicating.
When your healthcare professional describes either Descovy or Truvada, you need to take any of them daily. These are PrEP pills with the same purpose as Apretude; however, their consumption is tasked daily. Apretude is only given every other month. Its administration is also as few as six times a year compared to Descovy and Truvada’s 365 days a year. Furthermore, Apretude contains a medicine that keep the same level of efficiency in the body between injection appointments.
Things to consider before using Apretude:
- You need to have a negative HIV-1 result before using Apretude. Testing is necessary as Apretude is only prescribed after a negative HIV screening.
- Do not receive an Apretude injection unless you get a confirmation of negative status.
- Some results may not be accurate. However, if you have flu-like symptoms, tell your healthcare professional. You may need to undergo another test or wait until the window period has passed.
Side effects of Apretude:
- Pain at the injection site
- Swelling or bruising at the injection site
- Stomach pain
- Muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Back pain
The approval of this new drug paved the way for better HIV management. Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the Division of Antivirals in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said, “Today’s approval adds an important tool in the effort to end the HIV epidemic by providing the first option to prevent HIV that does not involve taking a daily pill.”
She also added that “this injection, given every two months, will be critical to addressing the HIV epidemic in the U.S., including helping high-risk individuals and certain groups where adherence to daily medication has been a major challenge or not a realistic option.”