Advertisement
Advertisement

TheBody.com/TheBodyPRO.com covers The 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012)

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis -- Adherence Is Key and May Explain Disappointing Trial Results

March 15, 2012

 < Prev  |  1  |  2 


PrEP Clinical Trials -- Effectiveness, Adherence and Drug Levels

iPrEx Trial

Study population: 2499 HIV-negative men who have sex with men

Study arms:

  1. Daily Truvada pill -- 36 HIV infections
  2. Daily placebo pill -- 64 HIV infections

Effectiveness:

  • Overall, a daily Truvada pill was 44% effective at reducing the risk of HIV transmission compared to a placebo.

Estimated Adherence:

  • Self-report: 95%
  • Drug levels: In an analysis of 43 participants who were supposed to be taking a Truvada pill daily (and were not infected with HIV), only 51% had detectable levels of drug in their blood

Additional information on anti-HIV drug levels:

  • Among men who became infected with HIV in the daily Truvada group, only 9% had detectable drug in their blood at the study visit closest to the time of their HIV infection.
  • Men with detectable drug in their blood were 92% less likely to become infected with HIV compared to men who did not have detectable drug in their blood.

FEM-PrEP Trial

Study population: 2,120 HIV-negative heterosexual women

Study arms:

  1. Daily Truvada pill -- 33 HIV infections
  2. Daily placebo pill -- 35 HIV infections

Effectiveness:

  • Overall, a daily Truvada pill was not effective at reducing the risk of HIV transmission compared to a placebo.

Estimated Adherence:

  • Self-report: 95%
  • Pill counts: 87%
  • Drug levels: In an analysis of 99 participants who were supposed to be taking a Truvada pill daily (and were not infected with HIV), only 38% had detectable levels of drug in their blood

Additional information on anti-HIV drug levels:

  • Among women who became infected with HIV in the daily Truvada group, only 21% had detectable drug in their blood at the study visit closest to the time of their HIV infection.

Partners PrEP Trial

Study population: 4758 heterosexual men and women (serodiscordant couples)

Study arms:

  1. Daily Viread pill -- 17 HIV infections
  2. Daily Truvada pill -- 13 HIV infections
  3. Daily placebo pill -- 52 HIV infections

Effectiveness:

  • Overall, a daily Viread pill was 67% effective and a daily Truvada pill was 75% effective in reducing the risk of HIV transmission compared to a placebo.

Estimated Adherence:

  • Pill counts: 97%
  • Drug levels: In an analysis of 198 men and women who were supposed to be taking a Viread or Truvada pill daily (and did not become infected with HIV in the study), drug was detected in 82% of their study visits.

Additional information on anti-HIV drug levels:

  • Among the men and women who became infected with HIV in the daily Viread or Truvada group, only 35% (Viread) and 25% (Truvada) had detectable drug in their blood at the study visit closest to the time of their HIV infection.
  • Men and women who had detectable drug in their blood were 86% to 90% less likely to become infected with HIV than men and women who did not have detectable drug in their blood.


Implications for Interpreting PrEP Trial Results

Advertisement

Recently released information on drug levels has provided additional insight into PrEP clinical trial results.

Poor adherence may explain the lower levels of effectiveness in the iPrEx trial and the lack of any effectiveness for women in the FEM-PrEP trial. More consistent adherence among couples in the Partners PrEP trial may explain the higher level of effectiveness in this study.

Poor adherence may also explain the disappointing results from an ongoing PrEP study called VOICE. The VOICE study found that the use of a daily Viread pill and a daily tenofovir gel did not reduce the risk of HIV infection among women in the study. However, information on drug levels in the women in this study has not been released. The trial is still ongoing and investigating the effectiveness of a daily Truvada pill.

It is possible that the disappointing results among women in the FEM-PrEP and VOICE trials is only partly be due to adherence. Additional research is exploring other factors that might have also contributed to these results.

Among men and women in the clinical trials who did take PrEP regularly, PrEP seems to have provided a high level of protection against the sexual transmission of HIV. The majority of study participants who became infected with HIV while taking PrEP did not have detectable drug in their blood, suggesting they were not adhering consistently. However, these drug levels came from the study visit closest to the time of a participant's HIV infection and therefore may not reflect the drug level at the time of the exposure to HIV that led to infection. It's also important to note that in all of the completed PrEP studies, HIV infections still occurred among study participants who were taking PrEP regularly and had detectable drug in their blood.

The lack of toxicity, side effects and drug resistance observed in completed PrEP studies might also be due to poor adherence. If study participants were not taking PrEP regularly, it's unlikely that they would experience toxicity or side effects or develop drug resistance if they became infected with HIV.


Implications for Implementation and Further Research

The information on drug levels suggests that many study participants had trouble adhering to PrEP. This means that the implementation of PrEP will need to focus on supporting PrEP users when it comes to regular adherence.

Research is needed to identify the barriers that prevented study participants from adhering regularly to PrEP. At the same time, more research is needed to explore other types of PrEP that would not require regular adherence, such as vaginal rings or injections that only need to be used once a month.

 < Prev  |  1  |  2 



This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 


No comments have been made.
 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.

Advertisement