Dolutegravir (Tivicay), an anti-retroviral drug for HIV, has just been approved for funding by Pharmac. In this case, it means that the drug will be fully-funded in public hospitals and the community, so long as specialist-approval is given.
Tivicay is an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI), which basically means that it stops HIV from replicating (and thus, spreading). Specifically, Tivicay stops the enzyme integrase, which in turn stops the HIV virus inserting its own DNA into a host cell.
Before Tivicay was approved, raltegravir was available. Although some members of the Anti-Infective Subcommittee of the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee said the two drugs are similary clinically, some other members maintained that Tivicay was stronger.
In addition to this, Tivicay is adminstered by one tablet daily, which continues the ‘ease of use’ approach.
Mark Fisher, executive director of HIV support group, Body Positive, says the organisation is “thankful to Pharmac for adding Dolutegravir (Tivicay)”.
The funding will be effective from 1 November 2016.
As with all medications, we recommend people talk to their specialists about this new treatment option.