Protease inhibitor monotherapy for long-term management of HIV infection: A randomised, controlled, open-label, non-inferiority trial

Nicholas I. Paton*, Wolfgang Stöhr, Alejandro Arenas-Pinto, Martin Fisher, Ian Williams, Margaret Johnson, Chloe Orkin, Fabian Chen, Vincent Lee, Alan Winston, Mark Gompels, Julie Fox, Karen Scott, David T. Dunn, M. Fisher, A. Clarke, W. Hadley, D. Stacey, M. Johnson, P. ByrneI. Williams, N. De Esteban, P. Pellegrino, L. Haddow, A. Arenas-Pinto, C. Orkin, J. Hand, C. De Souza, L. Murthen, A. Crawford-Jones, F. Chen, R. Wilson, E. Green, J. Masterson, V. Lee, K. Patel, R. Howe, A. Winston, S. Mullaney, M. Gompels, L. Jennings, N. Beeching, R. Tamaklo, J. Fox, A. Teague, I. Jendrulek, J. Tiraboschi, E. Wilkins, Y. Clowes, A. Thompson, G. Brook, M. Trivedi, K. Aderogba, M. Jones, A. DeBurgh-Thomas, L. Jones, I. Reeves, S. Mguni, D. Chadwick, P. Spence, N. Nkhoma, Z. Warwick, S. Price, S. Read, E. Herieka, J. Walker, R. Woodward, J. Day, L. Hilton, V. Harinda, H. Blackman, P. Hay, W. Mejewska, O. Okolo, E. Ong, K. Martin, L. Munro, D. Dockrell, L. Smart, J. Ainsworth, A. Waters, S. Kegg, S. McNamara, S. Taylor, G. Gilleran, B. Gazzard, J. Rowlands, S. Allan, R. Sandhu, N. O'Farrell, S. Quaid, F. Martin, C. Bennett, M. Kapembwa, J. Minton, J. Calderwood, F. Post, L. Campbell, E. Wandolo, A. Palfreeman, L. Mashonganyika, T. Balachandran, M. Kakowa, R. O'Connell, C. Tanawa, S. Jebakumar, L. Hagger, S. Quah, S. McKernan, C. Lacey, S. Douglas, S. Russell-Sharpe, C. Brewer, C. Leen, S. Morris, S. Obeyesekera, S. Williams, N. David, M. Roberts, J. Wollaston, N. Paton, W. Stöhr, K. Scott, D. Dunn, E. Beaumont, S. Fleck, M. Hall, S. Hennings, I. Kummeling, S. Martins, E. Owen-Powell, F. van Hooff Sanders, L. Vivas, E. White

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Standard-of-care antiretroviral therapy (ART) uses a combination of drugs deemed essential to minimise treatment failure and drug resistance. Protease inhibitors are potent, with a high genetic barrier to resistance, and have potential use as monotherapy after viral load suppression is achieved with combination treatment. We aimed to assess clinical risks and benefi ts of protease inhibitor monotherapy in long-term clinical use: in particular, the eff ect on drug resistance and future treatment options. Methods In this pragmatic, parallel-group, randomised, controlled, open-label, non-inferiority trial, we enrolled adults (=18 years of age) positive for HIV attending 43 public sector treatment centres in the UK who had suppressed viral load (<50 copies per mL) for at least 24 weeks on combination ART with no change in the previous 12 weeks and a CD4 count of more than 100 cells per μL. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) to maintain ongoing triple therapy (OT) or to switch to a strategy of physician-selected ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor monotherapy (PI-mono); we recommended ritonavir (100 mg)-boosted darunavir (800 mg) once daily or ritonavir (100 mg)-boosted lopinavir (400 mg) twice daily, with prompt return to combination treatment if viral load rebounded. All treatments were oral. Randomisation was with permuted blocks of varying size and stratifi ed by centre and baseline ART; we used a computer-generated, sequentially numbered randomisation list. The primary outcome was loss of future drug options, defi ned as new intermediate-level or high-level resistance to one or more drugs to which the patient's virus was deemed sensitive at trial entry (assessed at 3 years; non-inferiority margin of 10%). We estimated probability of rebound and resistance with Kaplan-Meier analysis. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number registry, number ISRCTN04857074. Findings Between Nov 4, 2008, and July 28, 2010, we randomly allocated 587 participants to OT (291) or PI-mono (296). At 3 years, one or more future drug options had been lost in two participants (Kaplan-Meier estimate 0.7%) in the OT group and six (2.1%) in the PI-mono group: diff erence 1.4% (-0.4 to 3.4); non-inferiority shown. 49 (16.8%) participants in the OT group and 65 (22.0%) in the PI-mono group had grade 3 or 4 clinical adverse events (diff erence 5.1% [95% CI -1.3 to 11.5]; p=0.12); 45 (six treatment related) and 56 (three treatment related) had serious adverse events. Interpretation Protease inhibitor monotherapy, with regular viral load monitoring and prompt reintroduction of combination treatment for rebound, preserved future treatment options and did not change overall clinical outcomes or frequency of toxic eff ects. Protease inhibitor monotherapy is an acceptable alternative for long-term clinical management of HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e417-e426
JournalThe Lancet HIV
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

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© Paton et al. Open Access article published under the terms of CC BY.


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