HIV 4 – Administering HIV medicines in children
Unfortunately, it is difficult for children to take multiple medicines every-day.2a However, children living with HIV can now benefit from newer, easy-to-take, child-friendly formulations of medication that have been developed.3a Learn all about these improvements here.
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UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGES OF MEDICATIONBack to top
“Children living with HIV have been neglected for too long, with the recommended treatment for years consisting of a bitter-tasting syrup with high alcohol content.”3b
Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi.
Some antiretrovirals (ARVs) for children require refrigeration, making storage of these medicines difficult for families without necessary living conditions suited to this.3b
Infants and young children are at the highest risk of dying if they do not receive treatment.3b
It is estimated that:
THE NEED FOR ADAPTED AND BETTER TASTING FORMULATIONSBack to top
Medicines that are designed specifically for infants and young children should encourage adherence.3b
There have been major improvements in the types of medicines available for treatment of HIV in very young children.4a Medicines are more pleasant tasting, heat-stable and easier-to-use. There are also now fixed-dose combinations (up to 4 medicines in one formulation) which will replace older medicines.3a
GRANULE-FILLED CAPSULESBack to top
- Combines 4 medicines in 1
- Strawberry flavoured granules
- Parents and caretakers are able to administer the medicine to children by sprinkling the granules on soft food or milk
- Does not require refrigeration therefore provides convenient transport and storage
- Easy to administer to infants and children of different weights and ages
PELLETSBack to top
- Combines 2 medicines in 1
- Can be mixed into foods such as porridge or milk
- Easier to administer to children than liquids
- Improved adherence to treatment
- No refrigeration required
Improved formulations can lead to better treatment outcomes.4c Many children have to take three or more pills or a combination of pills and liquids, every day, twice a day.2c Fixed-dose combinations improve treatment adherence by lessening the pill (or liquid) burden.4d
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF POOR ADHERENCE (BARRIERS) TO TREATMENT AMONG CHILDREN?Back to top
The goal of treatment is to maintain successful therapy for as long as possible during a child’s lifelong treatment.2d Barriers to this do unfortunately exist:2b
- HIV regimens for infants and young children often require taking multiple daily doses of multiple pills or liquids, some of which are extremely unpalatable.5a
- A struggle when administering medicine adds to the burden that caregivers experience when providing care to their HIV-infected children.2e
The lack of child-friendly formulations seems to be the biggest contributing factor in poor adherence among children.2b
The main obstacles preventing good adherence to treatment in children are:
The development of child-friendly formulations makes it easier for caregivers to administer HIV medications and easier for children to take medications.2f
↑ ADHERENCE ↑ SUCCESSFUL LONG-TERM THERAPY ↑EXTENDED LIFE2d
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HIV 3 – Treatment in Children
While significant progress has been made in preventing HIV infections in children,1a HIV remains a significant contributor to under-five deaths in South Africa.2a Was this helpful? Submit Cancel Thanks for your feedback! Was this helpful? Submit Cancel Thanks for your feedback!
HIV 5 – All about ARVs
Medicines used to treat HIV are called ANTIRETROVIRALS – ARVs for short. ARVs can’t cure HIV, but do help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.1 Learn all about ARVS here. Was this helpful? Submit Cancel Thanks for your feedback! Was this helpful? Submit Cancel Thanks for your feedback!