HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitors (ISTI’s) are a class of drug used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus. There remains to be no cure for HIV, but integrase strand transfer inhibitors can greatly slow the spread of the disease by slowing the reproduction of the virus. They do this by stopping the action of integrase, which is an enzyme of HIV Type 1 that helps integrate viral DNA into the host chromosome. The viral DNA has to be integrated into the host DNA for replication, which is why this treatment is effective. Integrase strand transfer inhibitors are one of the most important drugs in the development of HIV treatment, and have helped turn it from a death sentence into a reasonably manageable chronic illness.
HIV Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors Drugs
Here are some of the HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitors available in the United States:
HIV Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors Uses
Because the HIV virus is capable of adapting to integrase strand transfer inhibitors by themselves, ISTI’s are always prescribed with other drugs as part of a treatment regimen. They are used to slow and sometimes stop the spread of the HIV virus. At this point in time, ISTI’s are not prescribed, recommended, or authorized for treatment of anything other than HIV.
HIV Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors Side Effects
Integrated strand transfer inhibitors have proven to be well-tolerated in both patients who have never had treatment and patients who have been undergoing consistent treatment. However, long-term side effects of the drugs are still undergoing research but are expected to be minimal. Short-to-mid term common side effects can include insomnia and headaches. More serious side effects can include hypersensitivity reactions and troubled liver function (was observed almost entirely in participants who were also infected with Hepatitis B and/or C). Some ISTI’s (particularly dolutegravir) have been shown to produce heightened creatine levels as well. Since ISTI’s are never taken alone, side effects from other drugs in the treatment regimen may also apply.
HIV Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors Interactions
Integrase strand transfer inhibitors necessarily interact well with any other HIV drugs prescribed as part of a treatment regimen. However, there’s a long list of other drugs and substances that should be avoided while taking ISTI’s, which sometimes includes things as basic as standard multivitamins and St. John’s Wort. Interactions and reactions differ greatly with every ISTI and treatment regimen, so it’s recommended that anyone considering these treatments discuss what to avoid extensively with their doctor.