Objective: To prospectively examine differences in baseline characteristics and study outcomes between HIV-infected women and men during a clinical trial of nucleoside analogue therapy.
Methods: ACTG 175 randomized HIV-infected patients with CD4+ counts between 200 and 500 cells/mm3 to one of four nucleoside analogue regimens: zidovudine (ZDV), didanosine (ddl), ZDV + ddI, or ZDV + zalcitabine (ddC). Differences in time to first dose modification, voluntary withdrawal, development of toxicity and symptomatology, and AIDS progression were compared by gender.
Results: The study included 438 women and 2029 men. Baseline values of HIV RNA plasma concentrations were significantly lower for women (0.3 log10) than men in a subset of patients in whom assays were taken and this difference persisted after adjustment for CD4+ count. Women reported reducing dosage and discontinue ddI-containing regimens more frequently than men did; adjustment for weight did not completely explain this difference. Women were at lower risk than men for progression to a study endpoint (19% of women versus 24% of men; p < .0001). Among those antiretroviral-naive study subjects receiving ZDV, men were four times more likely to progress to a study endpoint than women.
Conclusions: Differences in pretreatment characteristics and on study experiences were demonstrated between women and men enrolled in this clinical trial. The suggestion of a gender difference in response to ZDV monotherapy by antiretroviral-naive study subjects and the lower baseline values for HIV RNA in women compared with those in men provides evidence for gender differences in the relationship between virus replication, CD4+ decline, and responses to nucleoside analogue therapy.
(C) 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.