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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2001 Mar 1;26 Suppl 1:S25-33.

International perspectives on antiretroviral resistance. Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance.

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  • 1San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California and University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


Although understanding of nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance is less clearly established than that of other classes of antiretroviral drugs, certain facts have been established. The treatment-associated genetic mutation profiles of the available NNRTIs have been mapped, and resistance has been found to develop rapidly after initiation of NNRTI therapy. Despite the chemical diversity of the NNRTIs, cross-resistance among agents of this class is nearly universal. Although the viral replicative capacity ("fitness") of NNRTI-induced viral variants has not been extensively studied, available data suggest that NNRTI-selected mutations confer little damage to viral fitness, and thus a single point mutation produces a strain that is both resistant and fit. Furthermore, with continued therapy, viral evolution persists, creating species with greater numbers of mutations and higher level phenotypic resistance. Taken together, these facts suggest that continued use of NNRTIs after emergence of resistance will produce variants of complex mutational patterns that limit future treatment options, and, therefore, strong consideration should be given to discontinuing NNRTIs after virologic failure is confirmed. This article describes the scientific literature establishing the efficacy and limitations of NNRTI therapy and attempts to define a role for this class of drug in the long-term treatment of HIV-1 disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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