Procaine hydrochloride

Procaine HCI is an experimental, immune-modulating drug designed to reduce levels of the stress causing hormone called cortisol. Known by the trade name Anticort, the drug has been developed by Steroidogenesis Inhibitors (STGI) and Altachem Pharma in the United States and Canada.

Procaine HCI is one of a new class of anti-cortisol, steroidogenesis inhibitor drugs which are being tested for treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Currently, phase I safety trials of procaine HCI are being conducted in North America.

This treatment approach to HIV is contentious because cortisol is naturally a part of the body's response to injury or infection. It increases blood sugar levels and increases the heart rate. Some experts believe that high cortisol levels are a response to, rather than a cause of, illness. However, very high levels of cortisol can have an immunosuppressive effect.

One theory behind this drug is that people with HIV are damaged by very high levels of cortisol. Reducing the amount of cortisol in the blood may in turn boost immune functioning. Another theory is that procaine HCI may interfere with an HIV protein called Vpr which is thought to be instrumental in CD4 T-cell depletion. There is some evidence that Vpr and excessive cortisol have a similar effect on the immune system.

Potential side-effects of anti-cortisol drugs include heart failure.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.