Efavirenz-based simplification after successful early lopinavir-boosted-ritonavir-based therapy in HIV-infected children in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire: the MONOD ANRS 12206 non-inferiority randomised trial
CONTEXT Protease inhibitor (PI)-based therapy is recommended for infants infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who were exposed to nevirapine for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. However, there are limitations of continuing PI-based therapy indefinitely and reuse of nevirapine has many advantages. OBJECTIVE To test whether nevirapine-exposed infants who initially achieve viral suppression with PI-based therapy can maintain viral suppression when switched to nevirapine-based therapy. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS Randomized trial conducted between April 2005 and May 2009 at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, among 195 children who achieved viral suppression less than 400 copies/mL for 3 or more months from a cohort of 323 nevirapine-exposed children who initiated PI-based therapy before 24 months of age. INTERVENTIONS Control group children continued to receive ritonavir-boosted lopinavir, stavudine, and lamivudine (n = 99). Switch group children substituted nevirapine for ritonavir-boosted lopinavir (n = 96). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Children were followed up for 52 weeks after randomization. Plasma HIV-1 RNA of greater than 50 copies/mL was the primary end point. Confirmed viremia greater than 1000 copies/mL was used as a criterion to consider regimen changes for children in either group (safety end point). RESULTS Plasma viremia greater than 50 copies/mL occurred less frequently in the switch group (Kaplan-Meier probability, 0.438; 95% CI, 0.334-0.537) than in the control group (0.576; 95% CI, 0.470-0.668) (P = .02). Confirmed viremia greater than 1000 copies/mL occurred more frequently in the switch group (0.201; 95% CI, 0.125-0.289) than in the control group (0.022; 95% CI, 0.004-0.069) (P < .001). CD4 cell response was better in the switch group (median CD4 percentage at 52 weeks, 34.7) vs the control group (CD4 percentage, 31.3) (P = .004). Older age (relative hazard [RH], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.08-2.72) was associated with viremia greater than 50 copies/mL in the control group. Inadequate adherence (RH, 4.14; 95% CI, 1.18-14.57) and drug resistance (RH, 4.04; 95% CI, 1.40-11.65) before treatment were associated with confirmed viremia greater than 1000 copies/mL in the switch group. CONCLUSION Among HIV-infected children previously exposed to nevirapine, switching to nevirapine-based therapy after achieving viral suppression with a ritonavir-boosted lopinavir regimen resulted in lower rates of viremia greater than 50 copies/mL than maintaining the primary ritonavir-boosted lopinavir regimen. TRIAL REGISTRATION clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00117728.