Dolutegravir versus ritonavir-boosted lopinavir both with dual nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy in adults with HIV-1 infection in whom first-line therapy has failed (DAWNING): an open-label, non-inferiority, phase 3b trial

Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Mar;19(3):253-264. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30036-2. Epub 2019 Feb 4.


Background: Doubts exist regarding optimal second-line treatment options for HIV-1-infected patients in resource-limited settings. We assessed safety and efficacy of dolutegravir compared with ritonavir-boosted lopinavir, plus two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) in adults in whom previous first-line antiretroviral therapy with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) plus two NRTIs has failed.

Methods: DAWNING is a phase 3b, open-label, parallel-group, non-inferiority, active-controlled trial done at 58 sites in 13 countries. Eligible adults were aged at least 18 years and, during at least 6 months of treatment with a first-line treatment containing an NNRTI and two NRTIs, had virological failure (confirmed HIV-1 RNA ≥400 copies per mL). Participants were randomly assigned by a central randomisation system to receive oral dolutegravir (50 mg once daily) or ritonavir-boosted lopinavir (800 mg lopinavir plus 200 mg ritonavir once daily or 400 mg plus 100 mg twice daily), plus two investigator-selected NRTIs (at least one fully active based on resistance testing at screening). The primary outcome was the proportion of participants achieving viral suppression (defined as plasma HIV-1 RNA <50 copies per mL) at week 48 using the snapshot algorithm and a non-inferiority margin of -12%. The primary analysis was done in an intention-to-treat-exposed (ITT-E) population of participants who received at least one dose of study medication, according to original group assignment. Safety was analysed in all participants who received at least one dose of study drug, according to which drug was received. The study was registered at, number NCT02227238, and, number 200304.

Findings: Between Dec 11, 2014, and June 27, 2016, 968 adults were screened and 627 were randomly assigned to the dolutegravir group (n=312) or the ritonavir-boosted lopinavir group (n=315). Three patients in the ritonavir-boosted lopinavir group did not receive study medication and so 624 were included in the ITT-E population. At week 48, 261 (84%) of 312 participants in the dolutegravir group achieved viral suppression compared with 219 (70%) of 312 in the ritonavir-boosted lopinavir group (adjusted difference 13·8%; 95% CI 7·3-20·3). Non-inferiority was achieved on the basis of the 95% CI of the adjusted treatment difference having a lower bound greater than -12% (prespecified non-inferiority margin). Because the lower bound of the 95% CI is greater than zero (7·3%), superiority of dolutegravir was also concluded (p<0·0001). The safety profile for dolutegravir was favourable compared with that of ritonavir-boosted lopinavir. More grade 2-4 drug-related adverse events occurred with ritonavir-boosted lopinavir than dolutegravir (44 [14%] of 310 with ritonavir-boosted lopinavir vs 11 [4%] of 314 with dolutegravir), mainly driven by gastrointestinal disorders.

Interpretation: When administered with two NRTIs, dolutegravir was superior to ritonavir-boosted lopinavir at 48 weeks and can be considered a suitable option for second-line treatment.

Funding: ViiV Healthcare.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / adverse effects
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Salvage Therapy / adverse effects
  • Salvage Therapy / methods*
  • Sustained Virologic Response
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • RNA, Viral

Associated data