The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a positive Final Appraisal Document (FAD) recommending Vocabria (cabotegravir long-acting injection) in combination with Rekambys (rilpivirine long-acting injection) for the treatment of HIV in adults.
This is the first time a HIV treatment has ever been appraised and approved by NICE and means that eligible people living with HIV in England and Wales will soon be able to receive the complete long-acting injectable regimen once every two months, following an initiation phase (oral lead in and initiation injections), as opposed to regular, daily oral treatment.
The announcement follows a positive decision from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in October 2021, enabling people living with HIV in Scotland to access the long-acting injectable regimen within NHS Scotland.
The combination regimen is for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults who are virologically suppressed on a stable antiretroviral regimen without present or past evidence of viral resistance to, and no prior virological failure with agents of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and integrase inhibitor (INI) class.
Garry Brough, Positively UK said: “We still have a long way to go in educating around HIV, but today’s announcement demonstrates how far we’ve come since the 1980s epidemic. It is a huge step forward in offering people living with HIV in England and Wales greater choice in how they manage their condition. Having to take tablets every day can be physically, emotionally and socially burdensome for some people. This decision reflects the rightful need for people living with HIV to have the freedom to manage their HIV in a way that works best for them, helping them to live their life to the full.”
Dr Nneka Nwokolo at ViiV Healthcare UK said: “At ViiV Healthcare, our mission is to ensure that no one living with HIV is left behind and we recognise that there are still unmet needs in both the choice of medication they take, and how often they take it. We understand that no medicine works for every individual living with HIV, so we are committed to offering innovative choices that help address their evolving needs. We are delighted that NICE has approved the first and only complete long-acting injectable HIV medicine, allowing us to focus on the people living with the condition and provide them with treatment options that remove the need for regular daily HIV tablets.”
 Two surveys carried out online by Opinion Matters, on behalf of ViiV Healthcare, between 04/08/2021 and 12/08/2021 amongst 4,056 respondents of nationally representative UK consumers and 55 respondents of people living with HIV across the UK.