Simplification of Antiretroviral Therapy to a Single-Tablet Regimen Consisting of Efavirenz, Emtricitabine, and Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate Versus Unmodified Antiretroviral Therapy in Virologically Suppressed HIV-1-Infected Patients

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate a simplification strategy for HIV-1-infected patients virologically suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) by switching to a single-tablet regimen consisting of efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (EFV/FTC/TDF).

Design:

Prospective, randomized, controlled, open-label, multicenter study.

Methods:

Patients on stable ART with HIV-1 RNA <200 copies per milliliter for ≥3 months were stratified by prior nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based or protease inhibitor-based therapy and randomized (2:1) to simplify treatment to EFV/FTC/TDF or to stay on their baseline regimen (SBR). Efficacy and safety assessments were performed at baseline and at weeks 4, 12, 24, 36, and 48. Additional patient-reported outcomes included the following: adherence by visual analog scale, quality of life by SF-36 (v2) survey, HIV Symptom Index, and the Preference of Medication and Perceived Ease of the Regimen for Condition questionnaires.

Results:

Three hundred patients (EFV/FTC/TDF 203, SBR 97) were evaluated (prior protease inhibitor-based ART, 53%; nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based ART, 47%). The arms were well balanced at baseline with 88% males, 29% blacks, and a mean age of 43 years; CD4 was 540 cells per cubic millimeter, 96% had HIV-1 RNA <50 copies per milliliter, and 88% were on their first ART regimen. Through 48 weeks, 89% vs. 88% in the EFV/FTC/TDF vs. SBR arms, respectively, maintained HIV-1 RNA <200 copies per milliliter by time to loss of virologic response algorithm (intent to treat, noncompleters = failures) with the difference (95% confidence interval) between arms of 1.1% (−6.7% to 8.8%), indicating noninferiority of EFV/FTC/TDF vs. SBR. Similarly, maintenance of HIV-1 RNA <50 copies per milliliter by time to loss of virologic response algorithm was 87% vs. 85% for EFV/FTC/TDF vs. SBR, respectively [difference (95% confidence interval) 2.6% (−5.9% to 11.1%)]. Discontinuation rates were similar (EFV/FTC/TDF 11%, SBR 12%); more discontinuations for adverse events occurred in the EFV/FTC/TDF arm vs. SBR (5% vs. 1%), most commonly for nervous system symptoms. More patients withdrew consent in the SBR arm vs. EFV/FTC/TDF (7% vs. 2%). Estimated glomerular filtration rate (by Modification of Diet in Renal Disease) remained unchanged over 48 weeks in both arms (median change <1 mL·min−1·1.73 m−2). A decrease in fasting triglycerides was observed at 48 weeks in the EFV/FTC/TDF vs. SBR arm (−20 vs. −3.0 mg/dL; P = 0.035). Adherence of ≥96% was reported by visual analog scale in both arms at baseline and at all study visits.

Conclusion:

Simplification to EFV/FTC/TDF maintained high and comparable rates of virologic suppression vs. SBR through 48 weeks.

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