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As of November 2010, a total of 22 antiretroviral agents are marketed in Spain. These agents are divided into 6 classes according to their mechanism of action: 1) nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) (abacavir, didanosine, emtricitabine, stavudine, lamivudine, zidovudine, and tenofovir), 2) non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) (efavirenz, etravirine, and nevirapine), 3) protease inhibitors (PI) (atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, indinavir, lopinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir), 4) entry inhibitors (enfuvirtide), 5) coreceptor CCR5 inhibitors (maraviroc), and 6) integrase inhibitors (raltegravir). All 22 agents are indicated for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in combination with other antiretroviral drugs. Most have also proven to be active against HIV-2 (except the NNRTIs, enfuvirtide, and maraviroc) and some are active against hepatitis B virus (lamivudine, emtricitabine, and tenofovir). The present article reviews the main characteristics of the different antiretroviral agents and classes, namely, commercial presentations, paediatric and adult dosages, dose adjustments in renal and hepatic insufficiency, pharmacokinetics and interactions, mechanism of action, treatment indications, resistance, adverse effects, and safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some of the characteristics of antiretrovirals are class-specific and common to other agents of the same class, and others are individual and different from those of other drugs in the same class. Knowledge of these characteristics enables us to prepare efficacious therapeutic regimens according to the specific requirements of the patient (tolerability, simplicity, adaptability to lifestyle) and clinical setting (naive, simplification, rescue, resistance). Copyright © 2010 Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.


Esteban Ribera, Montse Tuset, Maite Martín, Elena del Cacho. Characteristics of antiretroviral drugs]. Enfermedades infecciosas y microbiología clínica. 2011 May;29(5):362-91

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PMID: 21531048

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