The goal of combination therapy is to slow the ability of HIV to make copies of itself.
HIV meds from different classes work in combination to target HIV in different ways. Targeting HIV in different ways and at more than one step in its life cycle hinders the ability of the virus to make copies of itself.
Reducing the amount of HIV in the body reduces the threat to the immune system, which can have an effect on how the virus impacts your body.
There are currently 6 classes of anti-HIV medicines available. The nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and protease inhibitor (PI) classes prevent the replication of HIV by working inside T cells after they have been infected with HIV. Integrase inhibitors (INIs) block the activity of the integrase enzyme to prevent HIV DNA from meshing with healthy cell DNA. Fusion inhibitors (FI) differ from these other classes of anti-HIV medicines because they work outside of T cells to prevent HIV from fusing with, entering and infecting the cells. CCR5 inhibitors (CIs) block HIV by binding to the CCR5 coreceptor before the virus does.
HIV Drug Resistance
It is important to find an HIV treatment regimen that you can commit to. Successfully adhering to your treatment regimen by taking the correct dose of each of your anti-HIV drugs every day is the most important thing you can do to help control HIV and minimize drug resistance.
If you miss doses or fail to take medications as prescribed, the level of anti-HIV drugs in your blood can become low enough that HIV quickly makes copies of itself. This sets the stage for HIV to develop resistance to anti-HIV medications. When this happens, viral load goes up and T-cell counts can go down, signaling treatment failure.
As with other anti-HIV medicines, it is possible to develop resistance to FUZEON.
View the Patient Product Information.
What is FUZEON?
FUZEON is a medicine called an HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) fusion inhibitor. FUZEON is always used with other anti-HIV medicines to treat adults and children ages 6 - 16 years with HIV infection.
FUZEON blocks HIV's ability to infect healthy CD4 cells. When used with other anti-HIV medicines, FUZEON can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood and increase the number of CD4 cells. This may keep your immune system healthy, so it can help fight infection.
Important Safety Information
What are the possible side effects of FUZEON?
FUZEON can cause serious allergic reactions. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction with FUZEON can include:
- trouble breathing
- fever with vomiting and a skin rash
- blood in your urine
- swelling of your feet
Injection Site Reactions (ISRs)
FUZEON causes injection site reactions.
Almost all people get injection site reactions with FUZEON. Reactions are usually mild to moderate but occasionally may be severe. Reactions on the skin where FUZEON is injected include:
- pain or tenderness
- hardened skin
These reactions generally happen within the first week of FUZEON treatment and usually happen again as you keep using FUZEON. A reaction at one skin injection site usually lasts for less than 7 days. Injection site reactions may be worse when injections are given again in the same place on the body or when the injection is given deeper than it should be (for example, into the muscle).
If you are worried about the reaction you are having, call your healthcare provider to help you decide if you need medical care. If the injection site reaction you are having is severe, call your healthcare provider right away. If you have an injection site reaction, you can discuss with your healthcare provider ways to help the symptoms.
An injection site can get infected. It is important to follow the FUZEON Injection Instructions that come with your medicine to lower your chances of getting an injection site infection.
Call your healthcare provider right away if there are signs of infection at the injection site such as oozing, increasing heat, swelling, redness or pain.
Administration with Biojector® 2000
Shooting nerve pain and tingling lasting up to 6 months from injecting close to large nerves or near joints, and bruising and/or collections of blood under the skin have been reported with use of the Biojector 2000 needle-free device to inject FUZEON. If you are taking any blood thinners, or have hemophilia or any other bleeding disorder, you may be at higher risk of bruising or bleeding after using the Biojector.
Patients with HIV get bacterial pneumonia more often than patients without HIV. Patients with HIV are more likely to get bacterial pneumonia if they have any of the following: a low number of CD4 cells, increased amount of HIV in the blood, intravenous (injected into the vein) drug use, smoking or had experienced lung disease in the past. Patients taking FUZEON with other HIV medicines may get bacterial pneumonia more often than patients not receiving FUZEON. Three patients in the clinical trials who took FUZEON died of pneumonia.
It is unclear if the increased incidence of pneumonia is related to the use of FUZEON. You should contact your healthcare provider right away if you have a cough, fever or trouble breathing.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these symptoms. Discuss with your healthcare provider if you have previously taken FUZEON and experienced any of these reactions.
Tell your healthcare provider:
- if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. We do not know if FUZEON can harm your unborn child. You and your healthcare provider will need to decide if FUZEON is right for you. If you use FUZEON while you are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can be in the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry.
- if you are breast-feeding. Do not breastfeed. We do not know if FUZEON can be passed to your baby in your breast milk and whether it could harm your baby. Also, mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk.
- about all your medical conditions.
- about all the medicines you use, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. FUZEON has not been tested with all medicines.
Other Side Effects
The following side effects were seen more often in patients using FUZEON with their other anti-HIV medicines than in patients not using FUZEON with their other anti-HIV medicines:
- pain and numbness in feet or legs
- loss of sleep
- decreased appetite
- sinus problems
- enlarged lymph nodes
- weight decrease
- weakness or loss of strength
- muscle pain
- pancreas problems
These are not all the side effects of FUZEON. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. If you have questions about side effects, ask your healthcare provider.
As with other anti-HIV medicines, FUZEON may strengthen the body's immune response which could uncover hidden infections. Report any new or continuing symptoms to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will tell you what to do and may be able to help you with these side effects.
FUZEON is not a cure for HIV infection or AIDS, and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. You should remain under the care of a doctor when using FUZEON.
You are encouraged to report side effects to Genentech and the FDA. You may contact Genentech by calling 1-888-835-2555. You may contact the FDA by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
For complete details on FUZEON, please see the Patient Product Information, or call 1-877-4 FUZEON (1-877-438-9366).