One of the major factors contributing to HIV-1 drug resistance is suboptimal adherence to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Currently, recommended cART for HIV-1 treatment is a three-drug combination, whereas the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) regimens consist of one or two antivirals. Treatment regimens require adherence to a once or twice (in a subset of patients) daily dose. Long-acting formulations such as injections administered monthly could improve adherence and convenience, and thereby have potential to enhance the chances of expected outcomes, although long-lasting drug concentrations can also contribute to clinical issues like adverse events and development of drug resistance. Globally, two long-acting antivirals have been approved, and fifteen are in clinical trials. More than half of investigational long-acting antivirals target HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT) and/or integrase (HIV-1 IN). Here, we discuss the status and potential of long-acting inhibitors, including rilpivirine (RPV), dapivirine (DPV), and 4-ethynyl-2-fluoro-2-deoxyadenosine (EFdA; also known as MK-8591), which target RT, and cabotegravir (CAB), which targets IN. The outcomes of various clinical trials appear quite satisfactory, and the future of long-acting HIV-1 regimens appears bright.
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