UB begins groundbreaking study on 'net effect' on patients of HIV treatments, other drugs

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An antiretroviral drug for HIV, methadone for heroin addiction, a birth control pill and an antidepressant. For some AIDS patients, this is a daily medication regimen. Others take drugs to treat diabetes, opportunistic infections and side effects of antiretrovirals, while still others abuse alcohol, cocaine or heroin.

How do all of these substances affect how HIV drugs work and how do HIV drugs, in turn, affect the other drugs a patient takes?

That question is at the heart of research being conducted by the University at Buffalo's Laboratory for Antiviral Research, where researchers are developing innovative new methods of testing the blood and cells of HIV patients for these interactions.

The work is supported by a new, $2.3 million National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Drug Abuse grant to complete the first major study of complex drug interactions in AIDS patients.

"Fifteen years ago, we were treating people with one basic goal in mind: to prolong their lives," said Gene Morse, Pharm.D., principal investigator, professor and chair of the UB Department of Pharmacy Practice and associate dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. "Now we have the drugs to suppress viral replication, but with them come another set of complications. Many of these drugs are interacting and it has been difficult to study all possible interactions during the FDA development process. We want to find out their net effect." The decision to propose a comprehensive study on how antiretroviral drugs interact with other drugs HIV patients take grew out of a recent, multi-year clinical pharmacology study of interactions with methadone by Morse and psychiatrists at New York City's Montefiore Hospital. "A big factor in treating HIV infection are those patients with concurrent substance addiction," explained Morse. "For example, some of the drugs patients take to treat HIV could actually put them into withdrawal from m

Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
716-645-5000 x1415
University at Buffalo

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