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Other Names: Fuzeon®, T-20
What is it?
Enfuvirtide is an investigational anti-HIV medication. It belongs to a new class of anti-HIV medications called ‘fusion inhibitors.’
How does it work?
Enfuvirtide prevents HIV from entering a cell and using the cell to make more HIV. Specifically, it prevents the HIV particle from binding to the outer membrane of the immune cell. If HIV cannot bind to the immune cell, it cannot enter that cell and use that cell to make more HIV particles.
How do I take it?
Enfuvirtide is available as a white powder in a single dose vial. You will need to add sterile water taken from a different vial to the enfuvirtide powder. Enfuvirtide is injected just under the skin (subcutaneous) of the thigh, stomach, or upper arm. You will watch a video about how to prepare and inject the study medication. Also, you will prepare and administer the first dose with your study clinician.
It is extremely important that you use enfuvirtide and your other antiretroviral medications exactly as directed. You should set up a system that will help you remember to take your medicines so that you do not miss any doses. For enfuvirtide, each dose should be taken every 12 hours (+/- 4 hours). If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but then wait at least 8 hours before taking the next dose. Contact your study clinician if you are not sure when to take your next dose. Do not stop taking the medication for any reason at any time unless you are directed to do so by your study clinician. If you are unable to continue taking your medication due to side effects, you should contact your provider immediately.
Some drugs taken together may have interactions that cause illness or impair the effectiveness of the drugs. It is a good idea to always check with your study clinician before taking any other medications, prescription or otherwise, to be sure it will not interact.
Not everyone experiences side effects. When they do occur, they may be mild, moderate or severe. Some side effects cannot be felt by the patient but can be found through laboratory tests, so it is important to see your study clinician regularly for checkups so that side effects can be detected early and treated.
The most common side effects associated with enfuvirtide are injection site reactions (pain, swelling, redness), headache, fever, and rash.
Other possible side effects include abnormal liver function tests, and changes in blood cell counts. These side effects can be detected through regular laboratory monitoring.
It is important to report any side effects to your study clinician. Also, because you are also starting new antiretroviral medications, you may experience side effects related to those medications as well.
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