Efficacy and safety of switching from branded to generic antiretrovirals in virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients

N Gianotti, Andrea Poli, L Galli, M Franzin, P Tadini, N Galizzi, A Carbone, Marco Merli, C Muccini, C Oltolini, A Andolina, V Spagnuolo, A Lazzarin, A Castagna

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Background: Aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and the safety of switching from branded to generic antiretrovirals in patients with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL. Methods: Matched-cohort study of patients followed at a single clinical center. Since September 2014, all patients with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL who were receiving branded lamivudine or zidovudine/lamivudine or efavirenz were switched to the generic compound (switchers) and matched, in a ratio 1:1, for age (±5 years), gender, anti-HCV antibodies, nadir and (±50 cells/μL) baseline CD4+ count (±100 cells/μL), duration of antiretroviral therapy (±1 year), with patients with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL, on treatment with unavailable generic compounds (non-switchers). Incidence rates (IR) of different outcomes were calculated and compared by Poisson regression model. A confirmed HIV-RNA ≥50 copies/mL defined virological failure; any change in the antiretroviral regimen was defined as treatment discontinuation. Results: Four hundred forty patients were switched to generic compounds (268 [61%] on lamivudine, 65 [15%] on zidovudine/lamivudine, 87 [20%] on efavirenz and 20 [4%] on efavirenz and either lamivudine or zidovudine/lamivudine). Over a median follow-up of 15.0 (12.1–15.7) months, virological failure occurred in four switchers (IR: 0.07 [0.02–0.18]/100-person months of follow-up [PMFU] ) and in ten non-switchers (IR: 0.20 [0.10–0.35]/100-PMFU) (p = 0.0003), while treatment discontinuation occurred in 118 switchers (IR: 2.05 [1.70–2.44] /100-PMFU) and in 128 non-switchers (IR: 2.37 [1.99–2.81]/100-PMFU) (p = 0.699). Conclusions: After more than one year of follow-up, we found no evidence of increased risk of reduced efficacy or increased toxicity after switching from branded to generic lamivudine or zidovudine/lamivudine or efavirenz. © 2017 Gianotti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0182007
JournalPLoS One
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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