THE USE OF PROTEASE INHIBITORS IN
THE TREATMENT OF FELINE LEUKEMIA

by Barb Stock











































































What are Protease Inhibitors?

Protease Inhibitors are anti-viral drugs. Their method of action is to interrupt the virus in the replication process and denying it one of itís building blocks to copy itself. The two proteins the virus must have to copy itself are Protease and Reverse Transcriptase.

So, by blocking the replication of the virus, it will die? My cat will be cured?

Unfortunately, no. Researchers believe that the virus becomes "undetectable" to present tests, but it is not gone, merely "hiding."

What are the names of these drugs?

They are drugs commonly associated with the treatment of AIDS in humans. The Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors are: AZT, (retovir), ddl, (Videx), ddC, (Hivid),d4T, (Zerit), and 3TC, (Epivir). The Protease Inhibitors are: Ritonavir (Norvir) and Nelfinavir, (Viracept) which can be used by adults and children and Saquinavir (Invirase) and Indinavir (Crixivan) for adults only.

What is involved in giving these drugs if I decide to try them?

First,










Second,







Third,



you must find a Veterinarian qualified and trained to use them. This would mean an Oncologist at least, but, more than likely, the small animal clinic at a major university where they tend to be more up-to-date on new treatments like this. These drugs can be very toxic and dangerous if not given correctly, and most neighborhood vets are not qualified to give them. Blood work is a must, usually weekly to monitor their effectiveness and any side effects that might come up. Liver and Kidney function tests are also a must.

these drugs are most effective when given in combina- tion with others like them. This means your cat may receive 25 to 30 pills a day. The problem with this is obvious. Most cats hate even one pill and put up quite a fight. Also, if their stomachs are full of pills, they will probably not want to eat. Anorexia is already a problem in FeLV cats.

once started, it can be dangerous to stop them. Most researchers feel that even a single missed dose allows the virus to mutate into an even more dangerous enemy, resistant to the drugs.

This does not sound very appealing to me. But I want to do whatever I can to help my cat.

I would suggest you seek out a Veterinarian that is qualified and educated in the use of these drugs and discuss the possibilities with him. I would first try your States main University and see if they are using them and have gotten good results from them. They will explain the protocol, proís and conís and, based on your information, you will be able to make a decision on what you want to do.

I was so hopeful these drugs were a cure.....

We are all hoping that perhaps further research will produce a cure or at least a less dangerous plan of treatment. All we can do is continue to check in on how the research is going to see if anything major has been discovered.


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