Plasma HIV-1 RNA decline within the first two weeks of treatment is comparable for nevirapine, efavirenz, or both drugs combined and is not predictive of long-term virologic efficacy: A 2NN substudy


BACKGROUND: The initial rate of plasma HIV-1 RNA (pVL) decline has been proposed as a marker of early efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and a possible predictor of late efficacy. We compared the rate of pVL decline in patients starting ART with nevirapine (NVP), efavirenz (EFV), or both drugs combined in addition to lamivudine (3TC) and stavudine (d4T). METHODS: Analysis of the viral decay constant (VDc) during the first 2 weeks of treatment in patients enrolled in the 2NN study who remained on allocated treatment. RESULTS: The median VDc (log10 copies per day, [interquartile range]) was similar for NVP (0.30 [0.25-0.36], EFV (0.31 [0.27-0.37]), and NVP + EFV (0.30 [0.27-0.36]). Patients with a baseline pVL textgreater100,000 copies/mL were 8.7 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.2-12.3) times more likely to have a VDc textgreater75th percentile. A high VDc was not associated with plasma drug concentration or with a decreased risk of virologic failure at week 48 after the start of therapy (hazard ratio = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.6-1.2). CONCLUSION: NVP, EFV, or NVP + EFV in combination with 3TC and d4T show similar rates of pVL decline during the first 2 weeks of treatment. The VDc with these regimens is not predictive of late virologic efficacy.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr