Early antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1 infected infants, 1996-2008: treatment response and duration of first-line regimens

28 Nov, 2011

Authors: The European Pregnancy and Paediatric HIV Cohort Collaboration (EPPICC) study group in EuroCoord.

Published in: AIDS 2011; 25(18): 2279-2287

Background Durable and tolerable first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens are needed for HIV-infected infants who may need life-long treatment. We investigated virological and immunological response to ART, and predictors of switching and interrupting treatment among infants starting ART in the European Pregnancy and Paediatric HIV Cohort Collaboration.

Methods 9 cohorts from 13 European countries contributed data on HIV-infected infants born 1996-2008 and starting ART before age 12 months. Logistic and linear regression, and competing risks methods were used to assess predictors of virological (viral load <400c/mL) and immunological (change in CD4 Z-score) response, switching to second-line ART and treatment interruptions with viral load <400c/mL.

Findings 437 infants were followed for median 5.9 (interquartile range 2.3-7.6) years after starting ART; 30% had an AIDS diagnosis prior to ART initiation. Virological response improved with calendar year of ART initiation; 53% had suppressed viral load <400c/mL at 12 months in 1996-1999, increasing to 77% in 2004-2008. Virological and immunological responses at 12 months varied by initial ART type (p<0.001 and p=0.03 respectively), with 4-drug NNRTI-based regimens being superior (virological response <400c/mL adjusted OR 3.00, 95%CI 1.24-7.23; mean increase in CD4 Z-score coefficient 0.64, 95%CI 0.10-1.17) to both 3-drug NNRTI-based (reference) and boosted PI regimens which were similar. Rates of switching to second-line ART were lower among children starting 4-drug NNRTI-based and boosted PI-based regimens compared to 3-drug NNRTI regimens (p=0.03). 65% of infants remained on first-line ART without treatment interruption after five years.

Interpretation Effective and prolonged responses to first-line ART can now be achieved in infants starting early ART outside trial settings. Superior responses to 4-drug NNRTI compared