updated 9/5/2007 4:21:47 PM ET 2007-09-05T20:21:47

An experimental HIV drug from Merck & Co. Inc. should be quickly approved for use by patients running out of treatment options, federal advisers recommended Wednesday.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The panel of outside experts agreed unanimously that available data support accelerated approval of Isentress, also known as raltegravir, by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA isn't required to follow the advice of its outside advisory panels but does so most of the time. Merck expects an agency decision by mid-October. If approved, Isentress would be the first in a new class of anti-retroviral drugs called integrase inhibitors.

The Merck drug targets integrase, one of three enzymes used by the virus to replicate and infect cells. The FDA previously has approved drugs that target the two other enzymes, protease and reverse transcriptase.

Isentress is meant to be used as part of a "cocktail" of drugs to fight HIV in patients who have developed a resistance to older medications. HIV — the human immunodeficiency virus — causes AIDS.

Last month, the FDA approved another novel HIV drug, Pfizer Inc.'s Selzentry. That drug is the first that works by blocking a crucial doorway, called the CCR5 receptor, that HIV often uses to enter white blood cells.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments