HIV Antiretroviral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: Development Challenges and Pipeline Promise

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved oral daily tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) for pre-exposure prophylaxis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in 2012 on the basis of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs), one in men who have sex with men (MSM) and another in HIV serodiscordant heterosexual couples. Subsequently, even greater efficacy has been demonstrated in MSM with rapid population-level incidence reductions in some locations. In contrast, studies of antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in heterosexual women showed only modest or no efficacy, largely attributed to low adherence. The mixed results of antiretroviral-based PrEP bear witness to unique drug development challenges at this complicated intersection of sexual behavior, public health, and drug development. Multiple innovative methods and formulation strategies followed to address unmet medical needs of persons struggling with daily oral PrEP adherence or preference for nonsystemic PrEP options. Clinical pharmacology plays essential roles throughout this PrEP development process, especially in early product development and through pharmacologically informed enhancement and interpretation of clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1097
Number of pages16
JournalClinical pharmacology and therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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