THE Pharmaceutical Society of Lesotho (PSL) recently held a one-day seminar to equip local practitioners with knowledge about the newly introduced regimen of antiretroviral (ARV) optimisation.
The seminar was held at Victory Hall with the objective to teach and discuss the newly introduced regimen, as well as to deliberate on the issues surrounding the role of the pharmacists in ARV optimisation.
This follows the introduction of the regimen of ARVs namely Tenofovir, Lamivudine, Dolutegravir (TLD).
PSL executive committee member Thejane Nkome told the Lesotho Times this week that the seminar was called to ensure that a uniform and accurate message is communicated to communities in Lesotho about the consistent of ARVS.
Mr Nkome said the seminar was also necessitated by the need to empower local pharmacists to achieve professional competency both domestically and internationally.
He said the seminar was called after the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2018 recommendations on first and second-line antiretroviral regimens, post-exposure prophylaxis and recommendations on early infant diagnosis of HIV. This was in supplement to the 2016 guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection.
“The seminar equipped pharmacists with appropriate knowledge to ensure that one message is passed as this will prepare to handle the drug once it becomes available in the country,” Mr Nkome said.
“Following the recently updated recommendations by the WHO, PSL saw the need to host this learning and sharing seminar to also discuss the 2016 consolidated guidelines on the usage of ARV drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection.”
The seminar was also attended by different health professionals and organisations who also benefited from the training.
In 2016, WHO published the consolidated guidelines on the use of ARV drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection and recommended tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) + lamivudine (3TC) (or emtricitabine, FTC) + efavirenz (EFV) 600 mg as the preferred first- line antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen for adults and adolescents. Since then, scientific evidence and programmatic experience has accumulated on the use of dolutegravir (DTG) in both first- and second-line ART, including during pregnancy and tuberculosis co-treatment, and for children.
In 2018, the guidelines were reviewed to provide updated guidance on preferred options for the populations which now include DTG and raltegravir (RAL), and updated recommendations on using ARV drugs for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis.