Antiretroviral (ARV) booster drugs for HIV increase the efficacy of the antiretroviral medications that are needed to slow and control the virus by inhibiting its replication. ARV booster drugs are necessary because the liver quickly breaks down and metabolizes antiretroviral drugs, which means that they are only effective for a short period of time before they are broken down by enzymes. When levels of these drugs are too low in the body, they can’t effectively fight HIV. HIV booster drugs work by blocking the liver enzymes that cause the medications to break down. Some common HIV booster drugs include ritonavir and cobicistat. Cobicistat was just approved in 2014 and is sold under the name Tybost. A new drug called Prezcobix was approved in 2015 and is a combination of the booster cobicistat and the antiretroviral drug darunavir.
Because ARV booster drugs inhibit certain liver enzymes, they are especially dangerous when mixed with some street drugs and other prescription drugs. When these enzymes are inhibited, the liver’s capabilities to metabolize these other substances is also impaired. Methamphetamines and other uppers are especially of concern when combined with booster drugs, as well as benzodiazepines and medications for erectile dysfunction.
Before starting treatment with an ARV booster medication, it’s important to talk to your doctor about all prescription and nonprescription drugs you are currently taking, as well as any supplements. Because of the way they work, these drugs can interfere with the breakdown of a number of substances, possibly causing toxic levels in the body.
Prezcobix Pill Bottle and Logo
Prezcobix is a combination HIV booster drug that contains the protease inhibitor drug darunavir and the antiretroviral booster drug, cobicistat. The right combination of antiretroviral drugs and a booster drug varies by patient. Some patients benefit greatly from the ease of taking one pill per day instead of two or more. Prezcobix only needs to be taken once daily. The cost of this medication is high, around $1500 for a month’s supply. However the drug manufacturer, Janssen, offers a patient savings program that can lower the cost to as little as $0 per month. HelpRx also provides a coupon and discount card that can reduce the retail price of Prezcobix by as much as 75%.