Reductions in stavudine dose might ameliorate mitochondrial-associated complications without compromising antiviral activity

Department of Infectious Diseases, Hospital Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
HIV Clinical Trials (Impact Factor: 2.14). 07/2005; 6(4):197-202. DOI: 10.1310/ED57-EU48-RK6A-E5U0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Stavudine (d4T) is a nucleoside analogue approved for the treatment of HIV infection. Concern has risen due to its association with mitochondrial toxicity. Given that the toxicity might be dose-dependent, we explored prospectively whether lowering d4T doses might improve the safety profile of the drug without compromising its antiviral activity.
All HIV-infected patients seen at our institution during the first semester of year 2003 who were receiving a d4T-containing regimen and had plasma HIV RNA below 50 copies/mL for the previous 3 months were invited to participate in a trial in which half of patients reduced the dose of d4T from 40 to 30 mg bid (cases) and the other half continued with the same d4T dose (controls).
A total of 92 patients were recruited in the study: 47 cases and 45 controls. A total of 9 patients experienced virological failure during the following 12 months: 4 cases and 5 controls. No significant differences between groups were recognized for mean transaminase levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, and lactate at baseline nor over the 12-month follow-up period. Lipodystrophy was recognized in 20% of patients at baseline, without significant differences between groups, and no significant improvements were recognized in the d4T 30 mg bid arm after 12 months follow-up. However, a median significant increase of 2.23-fold in the mitochondrial DNA content in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was recognized in a subset of 11 patients who reduced the d4T dose, whereas it remained unchanged in 10 controls.
A reduction in the d4T dose from 40 to 30 mg bid may ameliorate mtDNA depletion in PBMCs without compromising the antiviral activity of the drug. However, significant improvements on surrogate laboratory markers of mitochondrial toxicity or in lipoatrophy could not be recognized over 12 months follow-up.