HIV drugs, also called antiretroviral medications, are lumped into different classes based on the kinds of methods the drug will use the attack the virus. Doctors often use drugs from more than one class for their patients’ treatment regimen, as this helps to improve their effectiveness and stop the chance of drug resistance.
What are the different HIV classes, and how do they work?
and Fusion Inhibitors (EIs) –
Drugs of this class keep the HIV from fusing, binding and getting
into the T cells. EIs are used along with other HIV drugs.
Strand Transfer Inhibitors (INSTIs)
– The drugs of this class block integrase, which is an enzyme HIV
must have to replicate. HIV will use integrase to add its viral DNA
to the T cells DNA. Blocking the process means HIV cannot replicate.
They are taken in conjunction with other HIV meds.
Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs) –
Drugs here will block reverse transcriptase, which is the enzyme HIV
must have to replicate. The virus will use the reverse transcriptase
to change the RNA it has into DNA, which stops the process and the
HIV from reproducing. These drugs are taken with other HIV drugs.
Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)
– These drugs stop reverse transcriptase just like NRTIs but in
another way. They are used simultaneously with their drugs.
Enhancer/CYP3A Inhibitors (PKE)
– These drugs increase the effectiveness of the antiretroviral
medication. When two of them are taken simultaneously, the PKE slows
the other drug’s breakdown, ensuring the drug to stay in the body
longer at a higher level. These are used with other HIV drugs.
– These drugs will bind to CD4 cells after the HIV attaches to
them, but keep the HIV from getting into the cells. They are used
with other HIV meds.
Inhibitors (PIs) –
The drugs in HIV class block protease activation, which is the enzyme
HIV must have to grow. By blocking the protease, it stops the
premature types of HIV from growing into a mature virus that can
infect the T cells. These are used with other medication for HIV.