Objective: To assess the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetic interactions of ezetimibe in HIV-infected patients with poorly controlled antiretroviral-associated dyslipidaemia while taking pravastatin alone.
Design: A prospective, open-label, one-arm study of 24 weeks duration.
Patients and setting: Nineteen patients (18 on stable HAART), with low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol values of ≥ 130 mg/dl despite the use of pravastatin.
Methods: Ezetimibe, 10 mg/day, was added to pravastatin 20 mg/day, while patients maintained the same antiretroviral regimen. Determinations of total, LDL-, and high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, triglycerides, apoproteins, and inflammatory factors (homocystein and C-reactive protein) were performed at baseline, and at weeks 6, 12, and 24. Liver enzymes and creatinine phosphokinase were also assessed. Protease inhibitor (PI) or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) Cmin was determined just before and 12 weeks after ezetimibe introduction.
Results: At week 24, 61.5% of patients achieved the endpoint of the study (LDL-cholesterol < 130 mg/dl). Significant declines in mean total and LDL-cholesterol levels were observed between baseline and weeks 6, 12, and 24, irrespective of antiretroviral type (PI or NNRTI). Mean HDL-cholesterol and apoprotein A increased significantly. No patients discontinued therapy due to intolerance or presented toxicity of grade 2 or more. No differences were observed in lopinavir or nevirapine Cmin measured just before and 12 weeks after ezetimibe introduction.
Conclusion: The addition of ezetimibe to ongoing pravastatin seems to be an effective and safe option for HIV-infected patients not achieving the NCEP ATPIII LDL-cholesterol goals while receiving a statin alone. Its high tolerability and the lack of interactions with the cytochrome CYP3A4 indicate that ezetimibe will not increase the risk of toxicity or pharmacokinetic interactions with antiretrovirals.