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AIDS. 1999 May 7;13(7):F53-8.

Randomized trial comparing saquinavir soft gelatin capsules versus indinavir as part of triple therapy (CHEESE study).

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Utrecht, Eijkman Winkler Institute, The Netherlands.



To compare efficacy and tolerability of saquinavir soft gelatin capsule (SQV-SGC) formulation and indinavir, both given as part of a triple drug regimen containing zidovudine and lamivudine, in HIV-1-infected individuals.


Randomized, open label, multicentre study.


A total of 70 patients who were antiretroviral-naive and who had a CD4 cell count < 500 x 10(6)/I and/or > 10000 HIV RNA copies/ml plasma and/or HIV-related symptoms. Subjects were assigned randomly to zidovudine 200 mg three times per day plus lamivudine 150 mg twice per day plus either SQV-SGC 1200 mg three times per day (SQV-SGC group) or indinavir 800 mg three times per day (indinavir group). Data are presented for all patients up to week 24.


Mean baseline CD4 cell counts (+/- SE) were 301+/-29 x 10(6) cells/l and 310 +/-43 x 10(6) cells/l in the SQV-SGC and indinavir groups, respectively. The log10 median baseline HIV RNA load was 5.00 copies/ml in the SQV-SGC group and 4.98 copies/ml in the indinavir group. No difference in antiretroviral effect between the treatment arms could be demonstrated. Intention-to-treat analysis (last observation carried forward [LOCF]) at week 24 revealed that RNA levels decreased to < 50 copies/ml in 74.3% of patients in the SQV-SGC group and in 71.4% of the patients in the indinavir group (P = 0.78). In the on-treatment analysis the proportion of patients < 50 copies/ml at week 24 was 88.0% in the SQV-SGC group and 84.6% in the indinavir group (P = 0.725). Intriguingly, the mean increase of CD4 cells in the first 24 weeks was 162+/-20 x 10(6) cells/l in the SQV-SGC group and 89+/-21 x 10(6) cells/l in the indinavir group (P = 0.01), but preliminary data indicate that this difference in CD4 cell count gain may disappear after 24 weeks of treatment. Both regimens were generally well tolerated.


During the first 24 weeks of the study, we found no difference in antiviral potency between the indinavir group and the SQV-SGC group. A significantly higher CD4 response in the SQV-SGC group was observed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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