A Randomized Trial Comparing Plasma Drug Concentrations and Efficacies between 2 Nonnucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitor-Based Regimens in HIV-Infected Patients Receiving Rifampicin: The N2R Study

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To our knowledge, to date, no prospective, randomized, clinical trial has compared standard doses of efavirenz- and nevirapine-based antiretroviral therapy among patients with concurrent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and tuberculosis (TB) who are receiving rifampicin.


Rifampicin recipients with concurrent HIV-1 infection and TB were randomized to receive antiretroviral therapy that included either efavirenz (600 mg per day) or nevirapine (400 mg per day). Efavirenz and nevirapine concentrations at 12 h after dosing (C12) were monitored at weeks 6 and 12. CD4+ cell counts and HIV-1 RNA levels were assessed every 12 weeks.


One hundred forty-two patients were randomized into 2 groups equally. The mean body weight of patients was 53 kg, the mean CD4+ cell count was 65 cells/mm3, and the median HIV-1 RNA level was 5.8 log10 copies/mL. At weeks 6 and 12, the mean C12 of efavirenz (± standard deviation) were 4.27±4.49 and 3.54±3.78 mg/L, respectively, and those for nevirapine were 5.59±3.48 and 5.6±2.65 mg/L, respectively. Interpatient variability in the efavirenz group was 2.3-fold greater than that in the nevirapine group (coefficient of variation, 107% vs. 47%). At week 12, 3.1% of patients in the efavirenz group and 21.3% in the nevirapine group had C12 values that were less than the recommended minimum concentrations (odds ratio, 8.396; 95% confidence interval, 1.808-38.993; P=.002). Intention-to-treat analysis revealed that 73.2% and 71.8% of patients in the efavirenz and nevirapine groups, respectively, achieved HIV-1 RNA levels <50 copies/mL at week 48, with respective mean CD4+ cell counts of 274 and 252 cells/mm3 (P>.05). Multivariate analysis revealed that patients with low C12 values and those with a body weight <55 kg were 3.6 and 2.4 times more likely, respectively, to develop all-cause treatment failure (P<.05).


Antiretroviral therapy regimens containing efavirenz (600 mg per day) were less compromised by concomitant use of rifampicin than were those that contained nevirapine (400 mg per day) in patients with concurrent HIV-1 infection and TB. Low drug exposure and low body weight are important predictive factors for treatment failure.

Trial registration.

ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00483054.

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