Background: Uncertainty exists about the best treatment for people with HIV-1 who have virological failure with first-line combination antiretroviral therapy of a non-nucleoside analogue (NNRTI) plus two nucleoside or nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NtRTI). We compared a second-line regimen combining two new classes of drug with a WHO-recommended regimen.
Methods: We did this 96-week, phase 3b/4, randomised, open-label non-inferiority trial at 37 sites worldwide. Adults with HIV-1 who had confirmed virological failure (plasma viral load >500 copies per mL) after 24 weeks or more of first-line treatment were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive ritonavir-boosted lopinavir plus two or three NtRTIs (control group) or ritonavir-boosted lopinavir plus raltegravir (raltegravir group). The randomisation sequence was computer generated with block randomisation (block size four). Neither participants nor investigators were masked to allocation. The primary endpoint was the proportion of participants with plasma viral load less than 200 copies per mL at 48 weeks in the modified intention-to-treat population, with a non-inferiority margin of 12%. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00931463.
Findings: We enrolled 558 patients, of whom 541 (271 in the control group, 270 in the raltegravir group) were included in the primary analysis. At 48 weeks, 219 (81%) patients in the control group compared with 223 (83%) in the raltegravir group met the primary endpoint (difference 1·8%, 95% CI -4·7 to 8·3), fulfilling the criterion for non-inferiority. 993 adverse events occurred in 271 participants in the control group versus 895 in 270 participants in the raltegravir group, the most common being gastrointestinal.
Interpretation: The raltegravir regimen was no less efficacious than the standard of care and was safe and well tolerated. This simple NtRTI-free treatment strategy might extend the successful public health approach to management of HIV by providing simple, easy to administer, effective, safe, and tolerable second-line combination antiretroviral therapy.
Funding: University of New South Wales, Merck, AbbVie, the Foundation for AIDS Research.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.