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J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Aug;38(8):736-43.

Safety, pharmacokinetics, and antiretroviral activity of the potent, specific human immunodeficiency virus protease inhibitor nelfinavir: results of a phase I/II trial and extended follow-up in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

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Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, England.


The safety, antiretroviral activity, and pharmacokinetic profile of nelfinavir, a potent and specific inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease, were assessed in a small open-label phase I/II dose-ranging study in protease inhibitor-naive HIV-positive men. A total of 22 patients with baseline plasma HIV RNA > or = 20,000 copies/mL and CD4+ counts between 200 and 500 cells/mm3 were enrolled in the study. Of the 22 patients, 20 were evaluated for activity; 10 patients assigned to 771 mg/day base equivalent (300 mg three times daily) and 10 patients assigned to 1,026 mg/day base equivalent (600 mg twice daily) given monotherapy. A capsule formulation of nelfinavir was used. The initial study period was 28 days; patients showing a virologic response of 1 log10 reduction were eligible for enrollment in an extension phase and addition of nucleoside analogues. A maximally tolerated dose of nelfinavir was not established. A dose-response relationship was observed for four (40%) patients in the 771-mg group and six (60%) patients in the 1,026-mg group experiencing a reduction from baseline in plasma HIV RNA of at lest 1 log during the 28-day study. Of these patients, five sustained the reduction in plasma HIV RNA beyond day 28 (2 patients receiving 771 mg/day and 3 patients receiving 1,026 mg/day). Median increases from baseline in CD4+ counts at day 28 were 216 cell/mm3 and 86 cell/mm3 in the 771-mg and 1,026-mg groups, respectively. After oral administration, median nelfinavir plasma concentrations on day 28 reached a maximum at 1 hour (2,966 ng/mL) in the 771-mg group and at 3 hours (3,157 ng/mL) in the 1,026-mg group. Data for 22 patients were included in the safety analysis; 12 patients (55%) reported at least one grade 2 or worse (moderate, severe, or very severe) adverse event. The most common grade 2 or worse adverse event was diarrhea, reported by two patients (20%) receiving 771 mg/day and seven patients (70%) receiving 1,026 mg/day; followed by nausea, flatulence, asthenia, and headache (each reported in 1 patient [10%] in the 771-mg group) and dizziness (reported in 1 patient [10%] receiving 1,026 mg/day). In the small subgroup (n = 6) who continued taking nelfinavir for longer periods (between 8 and 15 months), virologic responses were sustained in the majority of patients with good tolerability. Nelfinavir is an active HIV-protease inhibitor with favorable pharmacokinetics, good tolerability, and sustained antiviral effects. Results of this early phase I/II dose-ranging study provided data for the safety and antiretroviral activity of nelfinavir and led to the selection of higher doses for phase II/III trials to further optimize virologic and immunologic responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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