Background & Aims: The inclusion of protease inhibitors in 3-drug highly active antiretroviral regimens for treating patients who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 has had a significant impact in increasing survival and decreasing morbidity. However, the effectiveness of this class of drugs may be compromised by the occurrence of drug-related hepatotoxicity, which is problematic especially in individuals co-infected with hepatitis viruses. Based on its clinical and pharmacologic profile, especially its unique pattern of resistance, nelfinavir has been used frequently as a first-line protease-inhibitor therapy for human immunodeficiency virus-1-infected patients. The aim of this study was to identify the relative potential for developing hepatotoxicity for nelfinavir vs other protease inhibitors. Methods: An exploratory meta-analysis of liver enzyme level increases was conducted in a combined total of 4268 patients derived from 3 large recently conducted prospective and retrospective clinical trials and a prospective cohort study. Results: The results indicate that among 4 commercially available protease inhibitors and a 2-protease inhibitor combination, nelfinavir and indinavir are associated with the lowest rates of occurrence of severe hepatotoxicity (ie, combined estimates of liver enzyme level increases of 2.9% and 3.1%, respectively). The low rate of occurrence of severe hepatotoxicity for nelfinavir was shown even among patients co-infected with hepatitis viruses. Conclusions: In conclusion, these data provide support for the conclusion that differences in the potential for hepatotoxicity do exist among the commercially available protease inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas