Lopinavir/ritonavir single agent therapy as a universal combination antiretroviral therapy stopping strategy: Results from the stop 1 and stop 2 studies
Taylor S., Jayasuriya A., Fisher M., Allan S., Wilkins E., Gilleran G., Heald L., Fidler S., Owen A., Back D., Smit E.
Objectives: We designed two different studies to evaluate two different combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) stopping strategies namely a 'staggered stop' approach (STOP 1 study) and a 'protected stop' approach (STOP 2 study) to find the best 'universal stop' strategy. Patients and methods: Patients who stopped cART for any reason were recruited. In STOP 1, 10 patients on efavirenz continued dual nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) for 1 week after discontinuing efavirenz. Efavirenz concentrations were measured weekly for up to 3 weeks. In STOP 2, 20 patients stopped their cART and replaced it with two tablets of lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) (100/50 mg) twice daily for 4 weeks. Lopinavir, efavirenz, nevirapine and tenofovir concentrations were measured weekly for up to 4 weeks. Virological and resistance testing were performed. Results: In STOP 1 five patients still had efavirenz present (median t 1/2=148.4 h) 3 weeks after stopping. In STOP 2, 15/20 patients had a viral load (VL) of <40 copies/mL and 3/20 patients had a reduction in VL by 4 weeks. Six patients opted not to stop lopinavir/ritonavir and still had <40 copies/mL at week 8. Week 1-4 median trough lopinavir concentrations were well above the EC 95. Six patients still had detectable concentrations of original cART persisting for >1 week after stopping. No patients developed new resistance mutations. Conclusions: Plasma efavirenz concentrations can persist up to 3 weeks after patients stop efavirenz-containing regimens. This suggests a strategy of stopping efavirenz only 1 week before NRTIs may not be long enough for some individuals. The use of lopinavir/ritonavir monotherapy for a 4 week period may be an alternative pharmacologically and virologically effective universal stopping strategy which warrants further investigation. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.