#BREAKING: Zim To Switch To New ARV Drug With Less Side Effects

ZIMBABWE is ready to transition to Teno-Lamuvudine Dolutegrevir (TLD), an Anti-retro Viral (ARV) drug with less side effects, moving away from the Teno-Lamivudine-Efavirenz (TLE) a three in one drug that is taken once a day, a top health official has said

By Michael Gwarisa

The development comes barely a year after government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) deferred rolling out of the Dolutegrevir drug following indications that it posed a great risk to women of child bearing age and adolescent girls which might lead to women giving birth to deformed babies in future.

The  transition will be happening in May and will see People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and on Anti-Retro Viral Treatment (ART) as well as those newly initiated on ART switching to the new drug which contains both Tenofovia Lamivudine and Delutegrevir.

In an exclusive interview with HealthTimes, Director Tuberculosis(TB) and HIV in the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Dr Owen Mgurungi said the plan is to transition to the TLD drug by May and plans to ensure this occurs are being put in place.

“We will start transitioning by May yes and the TLD drug is actually a daily dose. The only thing is when you move from Efavirenz to Delutegrevir, Delutegrevir has less side effects than Efavirenz.

“Remember in these medicines, they take one tablet which has three drugs. Because it TLE now which is TDF or Tenofovia plus Lamivudine Efavirenz that’s what they are taking now a tabeltthat has three drugs which is taken once a day. So from May, we want to switch over to a drug that will contain tenofovir lamividine and delutegravir,” said Dr Mgurungi.

The transition according to Dr Mgurungi is going to happen for everyone and will take a period of six to nine months.

“We will be moving away from Efavirens to Delutogravir and that is going to happen for everyone and neither is it going to happen overnight but is going to happen over a period of about six to nine months depending on how the stocks are.

“Apart from the other challenges that we have we should be ok and ready to go by May,” added Dr Mgurungi.

In 2018, the ministry of health which was headed by Dr David Parirenyatwa deferred rolling out this citing safety issues and said they would only embrace the drug after the issues would have been rectified.

TLD is a single dose formulation of tenofovir lamivudine and dolutegravir which is taken once a day for HIV treatment and is a superior drug compared to the current formula of tenofovir lamivudine efavirenz.

According to HIV research, TLD is the first line preferred drug for men, boys  and women above the age of 49. Women of child bearing potential who are not on long acting contraception will continue to use TLE 400 while those on long acting contraception will likely move to TLD.

Pregnant women will only get TLD after the first trimester. Meanwhile, those with a co-infection of TB and HIV will get a double dose of TLD.

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