Gilead Sciences, Inc. announced that the U.S. FDA has approved once-daily oral Truvada® (emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg)—in combination with safer sex practices—to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 in at-risk adolescents. The safety and efficacy profile of Truvada for HIV prevention in uninfected adults, a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), is well established, and Truvada for PrEP was first approved for use in adults in 2012.
The addition of the adolescent indication is based on a study in HIV-negative individuals 15 to 17 years of age. In the United States, adolescents and young adults 13 to 24 years of age comprised 21 percent of all new infections in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 81 percent of those infections were among young men who have sex with men (YMSM).
Truvada for PrEP is now indicated in combination with safer sex practices to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kg. Individuals must have a negative HIV test immediately prior to initiating Truvada for PrEP. Truvada has a boxed warning in its product label regarding the risks of post treatment acute exacerbation of hepatitis B and the risk of drug resistance with the use of Truvada for PrEP in undiagnosed early HIV infection. Further important safety information, adverse drug reactions and prescribing considerations are included below.
“Study ATN113 has demonstrated that Truvada for PrEP is a well-tolerated prevention option for adolescents who are vulnerable to HIV,” said Sybil Hosek, PhD, Clinical Psychologist at the Cook County Health and Hospital System’s Stroger Hospital, Chicago, and lead investigator of the study. “In addition to traditional risk-reduction strategies, healthcare providers and community advocates are now equipped with another tool to help address the incidence of HIV in younger at-risk populations.”
The expanded indication is based on a single-arm, open-label clinical trial conducted by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS, a research network funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In Study ATN113, 67 HIV-1 negative YMSM age 15 to 17 all received Truvada once daily for PrEP. The Truvada safety profile in the study was similar to the safety profile that has been observed in adult trials of Truvada for PrEP, in which the most common side effects were headache, abdominal pain and weight loss. Bone mineral density (BMD) was also monitored and four study participants had a decrease in BMD through 48 weeks (three adolescents had a modest decrease and one had a >4 percent decline in total BMD at Week 24).
“We must make use of all available options when considering HIV prevention strategies, and we welcome the development that Truvada for PrEP is now available for younger people who are at risk of HIV,” said Matthew Rose, Policy and Advocacy Manager at NMAC, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization. “We will continue to build awareness and understanding of the role of Truvada for PrEP as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention plan for all who may benefit from it, particularly among communities disproportionately impacted by the disease, including young Black and Latino men in the United States.”
Truvada for PrEP is not intended to replace other prevention tools such as condoms, but when taken as directed and used in combination with other prevention strategies, Truvada for PrEP has demonstrated the potential to help reduce new HIV infections. Truvada should not be used in individuals with unknown or positive HIV status, as Truvada alone does not constitute a complete regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 and HIV-1 resistance mutations have emerged in individuals with undetected HIV-1 infection who are only taking Truvada. As the efficacy of Truvada for PrEP is strongly correlated with adherence, uninfected individuals should be counseled to strictly adhere to the daily dosing schedule, and HIV-negative status should be confirmed every three months during treatment. Some individuals, such as adolescents, may benefit from more frequent visits and counseling.
“By expanding the number of at-risk individuals who can consider Truvada as a prevention option, we have taken another important step toward helping to reduce HIV transmission rates and improve public health in the United States,” said Andrew Cheng, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Gilead Sciences. “Gilead is committed to addressing unmet needs in HIV prevention and treatment and we look forward to continuing that work with our research and advocacy partners.”
In addition to the ATN113 study data, the safety and efficacy profile of Truvada for PrEP in at-risk adolescents weighing at least 35 kg is also supported by adequate and well-controlled studies of Truvada for PrEP in adults, with additional data from safety and pharmacokinetic studies in previously conducted trials with the individual drug products, Emtriva® (emtricitabine) and Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), in HIV-1 infected adults and pediatric subjects.
Truvada does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections or cure HIV infection or AIDS.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
For nearly 30 years, Gilead has been a leading innovator in the field of HIV, driving advances in treatment, prevention and cure research. Today, it’s estimated that more than 10 million people living with HIV globally receive antiretroviral therapy provided by Gilead or one of the company’s manufacturing partners.