Aim: To evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of ritonavir, nelfinavir, and lopinavir/ritonavir in antiretroviral-experienced, initially protease inhibitor (PI)-naive, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected children.
Methods: HIV-1-infected children enrolled in the Swiss Mother and Child HIV Cohort Study were eligible for this observational cohort study if they received at least 1 PI of interest between March 1996 and October 2003: ritonavir, nelfinavir, or lopinavir/ritonavir. Data regarding demographics, clinical disease and antiretroviral treatment history, HIV-1 RNA copies/mL, CD4 T-cell counts [absolute (cells/microL) and percentages (%)], adverse events, clinical laboratory values, reasons for discontinuation of PIs, and concomitant medications were extracted from the database for PI-naive (first-line) and PI-experienced (second- or higher-line) PI use.
Results: The total duration of ritonavir, nelfinavir, and lopinavir/ritonavir use for 133 HIV-1-infected children was 163.8, 235.0, and 46.1 patient-years, respectively. In an on-treatment analysis, first-line therapy with any of the PIs significantly reduced HIV-1 concentrations and increased CD4 T-cell counts and percentages from baseline throughout the 288-week study (P <or= 0.05) for ritonavir and nelfinavir and throughout 84 weeks of use for lopinavir/ritonavir, which was introduced into treatment more recently. All PIs investigated were most effective in PI-naive children. Thirteen PI-associated toxicities occurred requiring treatment changes or interruptions (neurologic symptoms, n = 2; pancreatitis, n = 1; allergic reactions, n = 4; visual symptoms, n = 3; and hyperlipidemia, n = 3).
Conclusions: Long-term PI-based therapy seems to be safe and to result in durable virologic and immunologic effectiveness in HIV-1-infected antiretroviral-experienced children.