Clinical Effectiveness of Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitor-Based Antiretroviral Regimens Among Adults With Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Collaboration of Cohort Studies in the United States and Canada

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Oct 5;73(7):e1408-e1414. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1037.


Background: Integrase strand transfer inhibitor (InSTI)-based regimens are now recommended as first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) for adults with human immunodeficiency virus, but evidence on long-term clinical effectiveness of InSTI-based regimens remains limited. We examined whether InSTI-based regimens improved longer-term clinical outcomes.

Methods: We included participants from clinical cohorts in the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design who initiated their first ART regimen, containing either InSTI (ie, raltegravir, dolutegravir, and elvitegravir-cobicistat) or efavirenz (EFV) as an active comparator, between 2009 and 2016. We estimated observational analogs of 6-year intention-to-treat and per-protocol risks, risk differences (RDs), and hazard ratios (HRs) for the composite outcome of AIDS, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, end-stage renal disease, end-stage liver disease, or death.

Results: Of 15 993 participants, 5824 (36%) initiated an InSTI-based and 10 169 (64%) initiated an EFV-based regimen. During the 6-year follow-up, 440 in the InSTI group and 1097 in the EFV group incurred the composite outcome. The estimated 6-year intention-to-treat risks were 14.6% and 14.3% for the InSTI and EFV groups, respectively, corresponding to a RD of 0.3% (95% confidence interval, -2.7% to 3.3%) and a HR of 1.08 (.97-1.19); the estimated 6-year per-protocol risks were 12.2% for the InSTI group and 11.9% for the EFV group, corresponding to a RD of 0.3% (-3.0% to 3.7%) and a HR of 1.09 (.96-1.25).

Conclusions: InSTI- and EFV-based initial ART regimens had similar 6-year composite clinical outcomes. The risk of adverse clinical outcomes remains substantial even when initiating modern ART.

Keywords: antiretroviral therapy; efavirenz; integrase strand transfer inhibitors; treatment-naive adults with HIV; trial emulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Cohort Studies
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors

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