Background: Changing from drugs that have significant mitochondrial toxicity to less toxic compounds may be of benefit in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients who receive highly active antiretroviral therapy. Few data on mitochondrial toxicity of antiviral drugs are available in HIV-positive children.
Methods: Eighteen HIV-positive children (median age, 10.9 years) receiving a stavudine-containing regimen were randomized to maintain stavudine (arm A) or change to tenofovir (arm B), while preserving the remaining drugs. Glucose, lipidic, and viro-immunologic factors were assessed at months 0, 1, 3, 6, 12, and 18. Thymic output and mtDNA content were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells at 0 and 6 months, mtDNA in isolated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells after 18 months.
Results: From baseline to month 6, arms A and B showed similar thymic output and mtDNA. After 18 months, a significant decrease in plasma HDL was observed in arm B, along with a small increase in blood glucose; mtDNA showed no difference. In the 2 arms other factors did not show significant differences from the baseline and from the previous values at 18 months.
Conclusions: Changing from stavudine to tenofovir was well-tolerated, and viro-immunologic success was maintained.