A randomised comparison of safety and efficacy of nevirapine vs. atazanavir/ritonavir combined with tenofovir/emtricitabine in treatment-naïve patients

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Abstract

Background:

We report data from NEWART, a randomised phase 4 clinical trial comparing virologic efficacy and safety of nevirapine (NVP) vs. ritonavir-boosted atazanavir (ATV/r) on a background of tenofovir/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) in HIV-1-infected treatment-naïve patients. This study enrolled patients according to CD4-based initiation criteria for NVP (<250 cells/mm3 for women and <400 cells/mm3 for men), to reduce the likelihood of symptomatic hepatic events. NEWART was designed to support and confirm results from ARTEN, an international trial with similar design and study endpoints.

Methods:

A total of 152 patients were randomised 1 : 1 to open-label NVP 200 mg twice daily or ATV/r (300/100 mg) once daily, plus once daily TDF/FTC (300/200 mg). All participants met CD4+ guidelines at entry. The primary endpoint for non-inferiority was virologic response prior to and at week 48 (confirmed HIV plasma viral load <50 copies/ml, without rebound or change in ARVs). Safety data, including plasma lipids, were recorded throughout the study.

Results:

The primary endpoint was achieved in 46/75 (61.3%) and 50/77 (64.9%) of patients taking NVP and ATV/r, respectively. Frequency of adverse events (AEs) was similar between arms, with 88.0% of NVP-treated patients and 94.8% of ATV/r-treated patients experiencing at least one AE. Nine patients (12%) in each arm experienced an AE that led to discontinuation. At week 48, a significantly greater increase was seen in mean plasma HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) in the NVP arm (9.6 mg/dl) vs. the ATV/r arm (3.5 mg/dl); p = 0.016. Also, total cholesterol (TC):HDL-C ratio on-treatment was −0.38 and −0.02 for the NVP and ATV/r arms, respectively (p = 0.038).

Conclusions:

Efficacy results were consistent with the ARTEN study demonstrating that NVP was non-inferior to ATV/r when taken in combination with TDF/FTC. Rates of AEs were similar between the two arms, whereas HDL-C increased and TC:HDL-C decreased significantly more in patients taking NVP than ATV/r.

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