Management of HIV infection in treatment-naive patients: A review of the most current recommendations

Boyd, Sarita D.
June 2011
American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy;6/1/2011, Vol. 68 Issue 11, p991
Academic Journal
Purpose. The most current guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on the management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in treatment-naive patients are reviewed. Summary. Treatment guidelines are updated frequently because of the emergence of data demonstrating the risks and benefits of antiretroviral therapy. The DHHS guidelines strongly recommend initiating therapy in patients with certain conditions regardless of CD4 cell count and in patients with CD4 cell counts of <350 cells/mm3. Although supporting data are less definitive, treatment is also recommended for patients with CD4 cell counts of 350-500 cells/mm3. Treatment for patients with CD4 cell counts of >500 cells/ mm3 is controversial. Although cumulative observational data and biological evidence support treatment at higher CD4 cell counts, randomized controlled trial data to support this are not available, and the risk of antiretroviral toxicities, resistance, nonadherence, and cost should be considered in individual patients. The preferred regimens have been consolidated to four options, including a dual-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor backbone (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) with a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (efavirenz), a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor (atazanavir plus ritonavir or darunavir plus ritonavir), or an integrase strand-transfer inhibitor (raltegravir). Regimens are classified as alternative or acceptable when they have potential safety or efficacy concerns, have higher pill burdens, or require more frequent administration compared with preferred regimens. Conclusion. The DHHS 2011 guidelines advocate earlier antiretroviral therapy initiation than recommended in recent years, and preferred regimens have been refined to maximize efficacy, safety, and quality of life for treatment-naive HIV-infected patients.


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