Objective: To evaluate the safety and antiviral activity of different dose levels of the HIV protease inhibitor ABT-378 combined with low-dose ritonavir, plus stavudine and lamivudine in antiretroviral-naive individuals.
Design: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, multicenter.
Methods: Eligible patients with plasma HIV-1 RNA > 5000 copies/ml received ABT-378 200 or 400 mg with ritonavir 100 mg every 12 h; after 3 weeks stavudine 40 mg and lamivudine 150 mg every 12 h were added (group I, n = 32). A second group initiated treatment with ABT-378 400 mg and ritonavir 100 or 200 mg plus stavudine and lamivudine every 12 h (group II, n = 68).
Results: Mean baseline HIV-1 RNA was 4.9 log10 copies/ml in both groups and CD4 cell count was 398 × 106/l and 310 × 106/l in Groups I and II respectively. In the intent-to-treat (ITT; missing value = failure) analysis at 48 weeks, HIV-1 RNA was < 400 copies/ml for 91% (< 50 copies/ml, 75%) and 82% (< 50 copies/ml, 79%) of patients in groups I and II respectively. Mean steady-state ABT-378 trough concentrations exceeded the wild-type HIV-1 EC50 (effective concentration to inhibit 50%) by 50–100-fold. The most common adverse events were abnormal stools, diarrhea and nausea. No patient discontinued before 48 weeks because of treatment-related toxicity or virologic rebound.
Conclusions: ABT-378 is a potent, well-tolerated protease inhibitor. The activity and durable suppression of HIV-1 observed in this study is probably attributable to the observed tolerability profile and the achievement of high ABT-378 plasma concentrations.