Objectives: To evaluate simplified protease inhibitor (PI)-sparing antiretroviral treatment versus lipid-lowering therapy for the management of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-induced hyperlipidaemia.
Design: Randomized, open-label clinical trial assessing the efficacy on hyperlipidaemia of a switching therapy from PI to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) nevirapine or efavirenz versus a hypolipidaemic treatment (with pravastatin or bezafibrate) added to current, unchanged antiretroviral combination.
Methods: All HIV-infected patients on their first HAART regimen, with stable immuno-virological features, naive to all NNRTIs, and with mixed hyperlipidaemia, were randomized to replace PI with nevirapine (arm A) or efavirenz (arm B), or to receive pravastatin (arm C) or bezafibrate (arm D) with unchanged HAART regimen, and were followed-up for 12 months.
Results: One hundred and thirty patients were evaluated: 29 patients were randomized to arm A, 34 to arm B, 36 to arm C, and 31 to arm D. At the end of the 12-month follow-up, a reduction of 25.2, 9.4, 41.2 and 46.6% in mean triglyceridaemia versus respective baseline values was reported in groups A, B, C and D, respectively, with statistically significant difference between arms A–B and C–D (P < 0.01). Similar results were reported for total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Viro-immunological efficacy and tolerability profile were comparable in all considered arms.
Conclusion: Pravastatin and bezafibrate proved significantly more effective in the management of HAART-related hyperlipidaemia than the switching therapy from PI to nevirapine or efavirenz.