Tibotec Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, has launched its HIV drug Intelence in the UK.

Intelence (etravirine) is a next generation non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor and the first to show efficacy in patients with NNRTI-resistant HIV. It is the first new NNRTI to be introduced in 10 years and was approved by the European Medicines Agency in August for use in combination with a boosted protease inhibitor and other antiretroviral medicines.

That European approval was based on results from the DUET-1 and -2 studies, which showed that significantly more patients receiving Intelence had an undetectable viral load and a greater CD4 cell count that those in the placebo arm at 24 weeks. Tibotec noted that subsequent analyses have been made public, including a 48-week analysis “which further supports the efficacy and tolerability profile of this molecule compared to placebo”.

Mark Nelson, clinical senior lecturer at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said that “NNRTIs have been trusted by physicians and used in antiretroviral therapy for more than a decade”, but resistance has “limited the use of this important class of HIV medication”. He added that etravirine provides treatment-experienced patients in the UK who have NNRTI-resistant virus “with the potential to suppress their virus to undetectable levels - the ultimate treatment goal”.

The recommended oral dose of Intelence is 200 mg (two 100 mg tablets) twice daily following a meal. Patients may also disperse the tablets in a glass of water.