JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Early antiretroviral therapy reduces AIDS progression/death in individuals with acute opportunistic infections: a multicenter randomized strategy trial

Andrew Zolopa, Janet Andersen, William Powderly, Alejandro Sanchez, Ian Sanne, Carol Suckow, Evelyn Hogg, Lauren Komarow
PloS One 2009, 4 (5): e5575
19440326

BACKGROUND: Optimal timing of ART initiation for individuals presenting with AIDS-related OIs has not been defined.

METHODS AND FINDINGS: A5164 was a randomized strategy trial of "early ART"--given within 14 days of starting acute OI treatment versus "deferred ART"--given after acute OI treatment is completed. Randomization was stratified by presenting OI and entry CD4 count. The primary week 48 endpoint was 3-level ordered categorical variable: 1. Death/AIDS progression; 2. No progression with incomplete viral suppression (ie HIV viral load (VL) >or=50 copies/ml); 3. No progression with optimal viral suppression (ie HIV VL <50 copies/ml). Secondary endpoints included: AIDS progression/death; plasma HIV RNA and CD4 responses and safety parameters including IRIS. 282 subjects were evaluable; 141 per arm. Entry OIs included Pneumocytis jirovecii pneumonia 63%, cryptococcal meningitis 12%, and bacterial infections 12%. The early and deferred arms started ART a median of 12 and 45 days after start of OI treatment, respectively. THE DIFFERENCE IN THE PRIMARY ENDPOINT DID NOT REACH STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE: AIDS progression/death was seen in 20 (14%) vs. 34 (24%); whereas no progression but with incomplete viral suppression was seen in 54 (38%) vs. 44 (31%); and no progression with optimal viral suppression in 67 (48%) vs 63 (45%) in the early vs. deferred arm, respectively (p = 0.22). However, the early ART arm had fewer AIDS progression/deaths (OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.27-0.94) and a longer time to AIDS progression/death (stratified HR = 0.53; 95% CI = 0.30-0.92). The early ART had shorter time to achieving a CD4 count above 50 cells/mL (p<0.001) and no increase in adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: Early ART resulted in less AIDS progression/death with no increase in adverse events or loss of virologic response compared to deferred ART. These results support the early initiation of ART in patients presenting with acute AIDS-related OIs, absent major contraindications.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00055120.

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