A randomized, dose-finding study with didanosine plus stavudine versus didanosine alone in antiviral-naive, HIV-infected Thai patients

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ObjectivesTo evaluate the safety and efficacy of four different regimens of didanosine (ddI) + stavudine (d4T) in HIV-infected Thais.DesignProspective, open-label, randomized study.MethodsPatients were randomized to four regimens of high and low doses of ddI and d4T or to ddI alone. D4T was added to the ddI-alone arm after week 24. The duration of study was 48 weeks.ResultsSeventy-eight patients were randomized (mean CD4 cell count, 255 × 106/l; mean plasma HIV-1 RNA; 4.3 log10 copies/ml). In the intent-to-treat analysis, 78% of patients in the pooled combination arms and 20% of the patients in the ddI alone arm (to which d4T was added after 24 weeks) showed plasma HIV-1 RNA < 500 copies/ml at week 24 (P  < 0.001), and 59% versus 53% at week 48, respectively. In addition, the proportion of patients with < 50 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml was 13% versus 7% at week 24 (P  = 0.5) and 17% versus 20% at week 48 respectively. At week 24, median CD4 cell count increases from baseline were 101 × 106/l in the pooled combination versus 76 × 106/l in the ddI alone arm (P  = 0.78). Logistic regression modeling suggested a correlation between receiving high dose ddI and achieving HIV-1 RNA < 500 copies/ml at week 48 (P  = 0.07).ConclusionsThe d4T/ddI combination was superior to ddI alone in producing HIV-1 viral suppression. At week 48, > 60% of patients treated with this combination reached HIV-1 RNA levels < 500 copies/ml. Receiving high dose ddI but not d4T may correlate with a better viral suppression.

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