World Wide Words logo

Triple-drug therapy

This is the name given to a radically new treatment for AIDS which involves a cocktail of three drugs. Two are AZT (zidovudine) and 3TC (lamivudine), older reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which reduce the rate at which the RNA in the virus can be transformed into its DNA equivalent, essential if the virus is to copy itself. The third drug is a new type, a protease inhibitor, of which three have just been licensed in the US and Europe with generic names indinavir, saquinavir and ritonavir. The new protease inhibitors stop a later stage of reproduction, when the DNA has been used as a template to make new molecules but an enzyme called HIV protease is needed to break them into useful bits. Some startling results have been reported in initial trials, suggesting that a combination of the three drugs can sometimes be much more effective than any alone or in pairs. A few individuals in an advanced stage of the disease have had the amount of virus in their bloodstreams (the viral load), reduced to virtually undetectable levels. The major problem remaining is the expense of the therapy, a year’s treatment costing about $10,000 (6,600 pounds sterling), which makes it inaccessible to poor patients. The treatment is also known as combination therapy.

Page created 19 Oct. 1996
Last updated 8 Mar. 1997

Support World Wide Words and keep this site alive.

Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.


Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select a site and click Go!

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved. See the copyright page for notes about linking to and reusing this page. For help in viewing the site, see the technical FAQ. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-tri1.htm
Last modified: 8 March 1997.