Agents Used in Antiretroviral Therapy

  • Authors: Charles B. Hicks, MD; Philip Grant, MD (More Info)
  • Editors in Chief: Joseph J. Eron, Jr., MD; Daniel R. Kuritzkes, MD
  • Last Reviewed: 10/18/16 (What's New)


  • Potent combination antiretroviral therapy has changed prognosis for patients with HIV infection
  • Module describes HIV life cycle, current antiretroviral agents, and agents in phase III clinical trials
  • Some agents available separately (Table 1) or as part of coformulations (Table 2)
  • Figure 1 illustrates timeline of development of antiretroviral agents and coformulations

Potent combination antiretroviral therapy has dramatically changed the prognosis for patients with HIV infection, allowing the infection to be effectively managed with medication. This module provides an overview of the HIV viral life cycle, the currently available antiretroviral agents, the use of antiretroviral agents in combination therapy, and medications currently being investigated in phase III trials. Antiretroviral medications currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with HIV and those currently in phase III clinical trials are listed in Table 1, and those currently available as co-formulations are itemized in Table 2. With their improved tolerability, current guidelines generally favor integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) for first-line therapy in combination with NRTIs (see Tables 3 and 4 for Current Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines).


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