Efficacy and safety of dolutegravir-rilpivirine for maintenance of virological suppression in adults with HIV-1: 100-week data from the randomised, open-label, phase 3 SWORD-1 and SWORD-2 studies

Lancet HIV. 2019 Sep;6(9):e576-e587. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(19)30149-3. Epub 2019 Jul 12.


Background: Primary analyses of the SWORD-1 and SWORD-2 trials at 48 weeks showed that switching to a two-drug regimen of dolutegravir plus rilpivirine was non-inferior to continuing a standard three-drug or four-drug antiretroviral regimen for maintenance of virological suppression in people with HIV-1. Here, we present efficacy and safety data from the 100-week analysis of the trials.

Methods: SWORD-1 and SWORD-2 are identically designed, randomised, open-label phase 3 studies at 65 centres in 13 countries and 60 centres in 11 countries, respectively. Adults aged 18 years or older who were on a standard three-drug or four-drug antiretroviral therapy (ART) and had had fewer than 50 HIV-1 RNA copies per mL of plasma for at least 6 months were randomly assigned (1:1) to 50 mg dolutegravir plus 25 mg rilpivirine orally once daily (early-switch group) or to continue their standard regimen for 52 weeks before switching to the dolutegravir plus rilpivirine combination (ie, the late-switch group). In this analysis of week 100 data, the efficacy endpoint of interest was the proportion of participants with fewer than 50 copies of HIV-1 RNA per mL of plasma (per the US Food and Drug Administration snapshot algorithm). This outcome was assessed in all randomly assigned participants who received at least one dose of the study drug. Data were analysed after the last participant completed week 100 (Sept 15, 2017) and verified through the data cutoff (Nov 21, 2017). SWORD-1 and SWORD-2 are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT02429791 and NCT02422797, respectively.

Findings: 513 participants were randomly assigned to dolutegravir plus rilpivirine (ie, the early-switch group) and 511 to continue their standard ART regimen, 477 of whom then switched to dolutegravir plus rilpivirine at week 52 (ie, the late-switch group). At week 100, 456 (89% [95% CI 86-92]) of 513 participants in the early-switch group and 444 (93% [91-95]) of 477 in the late-switch group had fewer than 50 HIV-1 RNA copies per mL. Drug-related adverse events occurred in 103 (20%) participants in the early-switch group and 58 (12%) in the late-switch group. The most common drug-related adverse events were headache (11 participants in the early-switch group [2%] vs eight [2%] in the late-switch group) and nausea (eight [2%] vs five [1%]).

Interpretation: The combination of dolutegravir plus rilpivirine sustained virological suppression of HIV-1, was associated with a low frequency of virological failure, and had a favourable safety profile, which support its use as a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-sparing and protease inhibitor-sparing alternative to three-drug regimens that reduces overall exposure to ART.

Funding: ViiV Healthcare and Janssen Pharmaceutica.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / metabolism
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / adverse effects
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxazines
  • Piperazines
  • Pyridones
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Rilpivirine / adverse effects
  • Rilpivirine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • Oxazines
  • Piperazines
  • Pyridones
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • dolutegravir
  • Rilpivirine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02429791
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02422797