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SMC announces first long-acting injectable HIV treatment

Published on 12/10/21 at 10:07am

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the first long-acting injectable regimen for people living with HIV in Scotland, manufactured by ViiV Healthcare. This could reduce the days they receive treatment from 365 to 6 per year.

The SMC has accepted Vocabria (cabotegravir long-acting injection) in combination with Rekambys (rilpivirine long-acting injection), developed by Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, for use within NHS Scotland.

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company focused on delivering advances in treatment for people living with HIV or who are at risk of becoming infected with HIV. Their combination of cabotegravir and rilpivirine is the first and only once-every-2-month, complete long-acting injectable regimen for virologically suppressed adults living with HIV type one. Phase III clinical studies revealed non-inferiority efficacy of long-acting injectable cabotegravir and rilpivirine dosed every four weeks to daily oral antiretroviral therapy.

The SMC decision means that people living with HIV in Scotland will be able to receive a complete long-acting injectable regimen following an initiation phase as opposed to regular, daily oral treatment.

“Thankfully, huge progress has been made in the management of HIV over the last 40 years, with new treatments expanding much needed choice for people living with HIV,” said Brian West European Aids Treatment Group, Vice President of the European Patients Forum.

“But sadly, stigma remains a reality for some people, and taking a tablet each day can act as both a constant reminder of their HIV status and increase the risk of that status being shared against their will. The option of a long-acting injectable therapy could be a real game-changer for a number of people with HIV in Scotland, providing ‘treatment privacy’ for some and providing relief of the daily grind of taking tablets for others.”

ViiV Healthcare’s cabotegravir, in combination with Janssen’s rilpivirine, builds on the former’s industry-leading portfolio which is focused on delivering innovative medicines for the HIV community.

Lina Adams


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