Antiretroviral (ARV): classes of drugs
A group of medicines used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Reference: Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The Ethics of Research Related to Healthcare in Developing Countries. Nuffield Council on Bioethics, The Dorset Press, London, 2005.
ARV drugs are broadly classified by the phase of the retrovirus life-cycle that the drug inhibits.
Nucleoside and nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI): Inhibit reverse transcription by being incorporated into the newly synthesized viral DNA and preventing its further elongation.
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI): Inhibit reverse transcriptase directly by binding to the enzyme and interfering with its function.
Protease inhibitors (PIs): target viral assembly by inhibiting the activity of protease, an enzyme used by HIV to cleave nascent proteins for final assembly of new virons.
Integrase inhibitors: Inhibit the enzyme integrase, which is responsible for integration of viral DNA into the DNA of the infected cell.
Entry inhibitors: Interfere with binding, fusion and entry of HIV-1 to the host cell by blocking one of several targets.
Maturation inhibitors: Inhibit the last step in group-specific antigen processing in which the viral capsid polyprotein is cleaved, thereby blocking the conversion of the polyprotein into the mature capsid protein (p24). Because these viral particles have a defective core, the virions released consist mainly of non-infectious particles.
Reference: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accesed December 11, 2010. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiretroviral_drug