Effectiveness of dolutegravir-based regimens as either first-line or switch antiretroviral therapy: data from the Icona cohort

ICONA Foundation Study group

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INTRODUCTION: Concerns about dolutegravir (DTG) tolerability in the real-life setting have recently arisen. We aimed to estimate the risk of treatment discontinuation and virological failure of DTG-based regimens from a large cohort of HIV-infected individuals. METHODS: We performed a multicentre, observational study including all antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve and virologically suppressed treatment-experienced (TE) patients from the Icona (Italian Cohort Naïve Antiretrovirals) cohort who started, for the first time, a DTG-based regimen from January 2015 to December 2017. We estimated the cumulative risk of DTG discontinuation regardless of the reason and for toxicity, and of virological failure using Kaplan-Meier curves. We used Cox regression model to investigate predictors of DTG discontinuation. RESULTS: About 1679 individuals (932 ART-naïve, 747 TE) were included. The one- and two-year probabilities (95% CI) of DTG discontinuation were 6.7% (4.9 to 8.4) and 11.5% (8.7 to 14.3) for ART-naïve and 6.6% (4.6 to 8.6) and 7.6% (5.4 to 9.8) for TE subjects. In both ART-naïve and TE patients, discontinuations of DTG were mainly driven by toxicity with an estimated risk (95% CI) of 4.0% (2.6 to 5.4) and 2.5% (1.3 to 3.6) by one year and 5.6% (3.8 to 7.5) and 4.0% (2.4 to 5.6) by two years respectively. Neuropsychiatric events were the main reason for stopping DTG in both ART-naïve (2.1%) and TE (1.7%) patients. In ART-naïve, a concomitant AIDS diagnosis predicted the risk of discontinuing DTG for any reason (adjusted relative hazard (aRH) = 3.38, p = 0.001), whereas starting DTG in combination with abacavir (ABC) was associated with a higher risk of discontinuing because of toxicity (aRH = 3.30, p = 0.009). TE patients starting a DTG-based dual therapy compared to a triple therapy had a lower risk of discontinuation for any reason (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 2.50, p = 0.037 for ABC-based triple-therapies, aHR = 3.56, p = 0.012 for tenofovir-based) and for toxicity (aHR = 5.26, p = 0.030 for ABC-based, aHR = 6.60, p = 0.024 for tenofovir-based). The one- and two-year probabilities (95% CI) of virological failure were 1.2% (0.3 to 2.0) and 4.6% (2.7 to 6.5) in the ART naïve group and 2.2% (1.0 to 3.3) and 2.9% (1.5 to 4.3) in the TE group. CONCLUSIONS: In this large cohort, DTG showed excellent efficacy and optimal tolerability both as first-line and switching ART. The low risk of treatment-limiting toxicities in ART-naïve as well as in treated individuals reassures on the use of DTG in everyday clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25227
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International AIDS Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • adverse events
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • cohort study
  • discontinuation
  • dolutegravir
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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