Charlie Sheen has said his old HIV medication left him with ‘borderline dementia’ – which was thwarted by a new drug in a clinical trial.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online on Friday night, Sheen said he did not have symptoms of dementia until he started taking his first regime of drugs to suppress his HIV.
But those symptoms disappeared after he joined a phase III clinical trial for PRO-140 – an experimental injection designed to replace standard antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The actor, 51, started taking PRO-140 in May last year, months after appearing on the Today show to publicly reveal he is HIV-positive.
From day one he has gushed about its effects. On numerous occasions, he has told Daily Mail Online that he felt an emotional and physical transformation when he switched from ‘that cocktail of drugs’ to his weekly treatment.
Now he has elaborated on that transformation, telling Daily Mail Online that his previous drugs gave him ‘borderline dementia’ – but his symptoms with PRO-140.
His words come as the drug, which ended its successful phase III clinical trial early this year, is now being assessed for FDA approval.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online on Friday night, Sheen said he ‘is feeling fantastic now!’
PRO-140 is an ‘entry and fusion inhibitor’ that is injected weekly. It is made from an antibody, rather than synthetic chemicals.
It is one of many attempts to find treatment that does away with the side effects of current anti-HIV drugs, including fatigue, disorientation and memory loss.
Entry and fusion inhibitors protect cells in the immune system from HIV infection.
To do so, the drug attaches to a protein receptor on the surface of the immune cell.
Normally, HIV would use that protein as a gateway to enter and infect a cell.
Studies show that when this gateway is blocked, HIV has no other way of entering that cell.
If possible, this process would block the virus from multiplying. It could also reduce that amount of HIV in the body.
It is a Phase III trial – the last batch to try it before it can be released.
After successful results, it is now being studied by the FDA for approval.
CytoDyn Inc, the manufacturer based in Vancouver, Washington, is eyeing up a mid-2017 or early 2018 release.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online in December, Charlie and PRO-140’s developer Dr Nader Pourhassan exclusively revealed his viral load had been fully suppressed.
He also spoke about feeling much better than when he had been on his previous medication.
‘It’s impossibly amazing,’ Sheen said.
‘Personally, I think about how I felt on the day and how I feel today. Wow. Talk about a transformation. One minute you’re on the road to perdition, the next you’re on the road to providence. It’s amazing.’
He added: ‘I’m so grateful that those cocktail drugs exist and did when I came down with the virus.
‘But living on that cocktail it affects your health, your body, it psychologically affects you.
‘I thought for sure I’d be stuck on that cocktail forever, but look at me now.’