Background: MK-0518 is a novel HIV-1 integrase strand transfer inhibitor with potent in vitro activity against HIV-1 (95% inhibitory concentration [IC95] = 33 nM in 50% human serum) and good bioavailability in uninfected subjects. This study explored the antiretroviral activity and safety of MK-0518 versus placebo for 10 days as monotherapy in antiretroviral therapy-naive HIV-1-infected patients with plasma HIV-1 RNA levels of at least 5000 copies/mL and CD4 T-cell counts of at least 100 cells/mm.
Methods: This was a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled 2-part study, with the first part using MK-0518 in 1 of 4 doses (100, 200, 400, and 600 mg) versus placebo (randomized 1:1:1:1:1) given twice daily for 10 days of monotherapy. Patients were monitored for safety, pharmacokinetic parameters, and antiretroviral effect.
Results: Thirty-five patients were enrolled (6-8 patients per treatment group) and completed 10 days of therapy; the mean baseline log10 HIV RNA level ranged from 4.5 to 5.0 copies/mL in each group. On day 10, the mean decrease from baseline in the log10 HIV RNA level was -0.2 copies/mL for the placebo group and -1.9, -2.0, -1.7 and -2.2 log10 copies/mL for the MK-0518 100-, 200-, 400-, and 600-mg treatment groups, respectively. All dose groups had superior antiretroviral activity compared with placebo (P < 0.001 for comparison of each dose with placebo). At least 50% of patients in each MK-0518 dose group achieved an HIV RNA level <400 copies/mL by day 10. Mean trough MK-0518 concentrations at each dose exceeded the IC95 of 33 nM. Study therapy was generally well tolerated. The most common adverse experiences were headache and dizziness; these were similar between active and control groups. There were no discontinuations because of adverse experiences and no serious adverse experiences.
Conclusions: MK-0518 showed potent antiretroviral activity as short-term monotherapy and was generally well tolerated at all doses. Based on these results, part 2 of the study, a dose-ranging 48-week trial of MK-0518 versus efavirenz in a combination regimen, has been initiated.