Salvage therapy

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Salvage therapy
MeSH D016879

Salvage therapy, also known as rescue therapy, is a form of therapy given after an ailment does not respond to standard therapy.[1] The most common diseases that require salvage therapy are HIV and various tumors. The word is not clearly defined; it is used both to mean a second attempt and a final attempt.[2] Salvage therapy drugs or drug combinations have, in general, much more severe side effects than the standard line of therapy. This is often true of a drug of last resort.



Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) are given to slow down the HIV reproduction, which in turn increases quality of life and survival.[3] If the patient's viral load starts to increase instead of staying very low, it almost always[clarification needed] means the virus has developed a resistance to the ARVs. As more and more mutations develop, it becomes harder to select an ARV that will suppress viral replication and keep viral load low. Salvage therapy is the attempt to contain it, even though there are no common options.[4] One definition in HIV therapy speaks of salvage therapy when at least one regimen containing protease inhibitors has failed in a patient.[5]


Salvage chemotherapy is a treatment that is given after the cancer has not responded to other treatments.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of Salvage therapy". 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  2. ^ "HIV Therapy 2006". Flying Publisher. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  3. ^ "Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)". World Health Organization. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  4. ^ "SALVAGE THERAPY". The AIDS InfoNet. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  5. ^ "HIV Medicine 15th Edition". Flying Publisher. 2007. 
  6. ^ NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms