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AIDS. 2004 Jan 23;18(2):237-45.

Highly active antiretroviral therapy started in infants under 3 months of age: 72-week follow-up for CD4 cell count, viral load and drug resistance outcome.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the feasibility and impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) started in vertically HIV-1-infected infants less than 3 months of age.

DESIGN:

A multicentre, phase I/II, non-randomized, open-label study (PENTA 7).

METHODS:

Adverse events, plasma HIV-1 RNA, CD4 cell counts, CD4 cell percentage (CD4%) and clinical progression were recorded at baseline and prospectively to 72 weeks in order to assess the toxicity, tolerability and efficacy of a combination of stavudine, didanosine and nelfinavir. Selection of genotypic resistance was also investigated.

RESULTS:

Twenty infants, of whom only three had Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stage B, initiated HAART at median age 2.5 months (range, 0.9-4.7) with median HIV-1 RNA concentration 5.5 log10 copies/ml (range, 3.2-6.8) and CD4% 33% (range, 11-66). Median follow-up was 96 weeks (range, 60-144). At week 72, 11 infants were still taking the original treatment. Few adverse events were reported related to treatment, all minor and causing treatment interruption in only three infants. No AIDS-defining events occurred; one child died of non-HIV-related causes (prematurity). All but two had CD4% > 25% at 72 weeks; however, 14 infants had virological failure and six acquired resistance mutations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Early treatment with stavudine, didanosine and nelfinavir was well tolerated and associated with good clinical and immunological outcomes at week 72. However, a high rate of virological failure with emergence of genotypic resistance is of great concern. More palatable drug combinations for infants and closer drug monitoring are required.

Comment in

PMID:
15075541
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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