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Psychosomatics. 2004 May-Jun;45(3):262-70.

Antiretrovirals, part 1: overview, history, and focus on protease inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001, USA.


This column is the first in a series on HIV/AIDS antiretroviral drugs. This first review summarizes the history of HIV/AIDS and the development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and highlights why it is important for non-HIV specialists to know about these drugs. There are four broad classes of HIV medications used in varying combinations in HAART: the protease inhibitors, nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors, the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and cell membrane fusion inhibitors. This paper reviews the mechanism of action, side effects, toxicities, and drug interactions of the protease inhibitors.

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