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Antiretroviral chemotherapy in HIV infection

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

There are six main categories of antiretroviral drugs used in HIV infection:

  • nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs):
    • AZT (zidovudine)
    • ddI (didanosine)
    • ddC (zalcitabine)
    • d4T (stavudine)
    • 3TC (lamivudine)
    • abacavir
  • non-nucleoside analogue inhibitors of reverse transcriptase (NNRTIs):
    • etravirine
    • delavirdine
    • nevirapine
    • efavirenz
  • integrase inhibitors
    • raltegravir (RAL)
    • elvitegravir (EVG)
  • protease inhibitors (PIs):
    • amprenavir (APV, Agenerase)
    • atazanavir (ATZ, Reyataz)
    • saquinavir
    • ritonavir
    • indinavir
    • nelfinavir
    • lopinavir
  • fusion inhibitors – prevents fusion of viral membrane with the cell membrane
    • enfuvirtide T-20 (1)
  • coreceptor antagonists

Some serious or unusual side effects of antiretroviral therapy are:

  • NRTI’s – hypersensitivity, lactic acidosis and hepatomagaly, bone marrow suppression, pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, lipoatrophy
  • NNRTI’s – hypersensitivity hepatic toxicity, psychiatric problems
  • PI’s – hepatic toxicity, hyperlipdaemia, lipodystrophy, type 2 diabetes, ureteric colic, nephrolithiasis (1)


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