The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Early Online Publication, 1 February 2011:
Children with HIV will be on antiretroviral therapy (ART) longer than adults, and therefore the durability of first-line ART and timing of switch to second-line are key questions. We assess the long-term outcome of protease inhibitor and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) first-line ART and viral load switch criteria in children.
Protease inhibitor resistance was uncommon and there was no increase in NRTI resistance in the PI-higher compared with the PI-low group. NNRTI resistance was selected early, and about 10% more children accumulated NRTI mutations in the NNRTI-higher than the NNRTI-low group. Nine children had new CDC stage-C events and 60 had grade 3/4 adverse events; both were balanced across randomised groups.
Good long-term outcomes were achieved with all treatments strategies. Delayed switching of protease-inhibitor-based ART might be reasonable where future drug options are limited, because the risk of selecting for NRTI and protease-inhibitor resistance is low.