Merck drug for HIV effective, tolerated, study results show

Phase-3 study of Isentress shows results similar to previous studies in 209-patient trial

CHICAGO — A drug made by Merck for treating HIV infection was effective and tolerated in patients regardless of their gender or race, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Monday.

Merck announced the release of data from the phase-3 "REALMRK" study showing that Isentress (raltegravir) combined with other drugs produced results similar to those seen in other phase-3 studies. The REALMRK study enrolled 209 patients who had not previously received treatment for HIV, as well as those for whom previous treatments didn't work. Of the patients enrolled, 74.6% were black, while 46.9% were women.

"Results from the REALMRK study demonstrate the benefits of Isentress in combination therapy in a diverse patient population that refelcts the faces of money people living with HIV-1 today," director of the division of infectious disease and environmental medicine at Thomas Jefferson University's medical school and lead study investigator Kathleen Squires said. "Blacks and women are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic."

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