Lopinavir/ritonavir: a review of its use in the management of HIV infection

Drugs. 2006;66(9):1275-99. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200666090-00012.


Coformulated lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) is a boosted protease inhibitor (PI) containing lopinavir and low-dose ritonavir. It is approved for use in combination with other antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV infection in adults, adolescents and children aged >or=6 months (in the US) or >or=2 years (in the EU).Lopinavir/ritonavir-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) is generally well tolerated and has shown durable virological efficacy in clinical trials in ART-naive and -experienced patients with virological failure. Lopinavir/ritonavir is one of the preferred PIs for first-line treatment of HIV infection in adults, adolescents and children, according to US and British guidelines, reflecting its comparatively better virological efficacy than nelfinavir and low incidence of de novo resistance during long-term treatment. Lopinavir/ritonavir-based treatment may produce a more effective virological response than other PI-based regimens in single PI-experienced, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-naive patients. In PI- and NNRTI-experienced patients, atazanavir/saquinavir was inferior to lopinavir/ritonavir; further well designed trials are required to determine the comparative efficacy of lopinavir/ritonavir versus other PIs such as ritonavir-boosted atazanavir, or fosamprenavir or tipranavir in these patients. Lopinavir/ritonavir is more likely than atazanavir (alone or boosted) or nelfinavir to cause hypertriglyceridaemia and is associated with a higher incidence of hypercholesterolaemia than atazanavir (alone or boosted). The new lopinavir/ritonavir tablet coformulation offers a reduced pill count and lack of food interaction, and ART-naive patients in the US and Canada, who are not receiving efavirenz, nelfinavir, nevirapine or amprenavir, may benefit from convenient once-daily administration of lopinavir/ritonavir. Thus, lopinavir/ritonavir is a convenient, effective option for use in the treatment of HIV infection in ART-naive and -experienced adults, adolescents and children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lopinavir
  • Pyrimidinones / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyrimidinones / pharmacology*
  • Pyrimidinones / therapeutic use
  • Ritonavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Ritonavir / pharmacology*
  • Ritonavir / therapeutic use


  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidinones
  • Lopinavir
  • Ritonavir