This Week In HIV Research


This Week in HIV Research: Reasons for Discontinuing or Switching First Treatment Regimens

February 19, 2016

This week, we read a study that examined the main reasons individuals living with HIV discontinue their first treatment regimen. Plus, we preview CROI 2016, one of the major annual HIV conferences. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!


Reasons for Discontinuing Initial Antiretroviral Therapy in Clinical Practice

One of the main reasons individuals living with HIV discontinue their first antiretroviral therapy regimen is a desire to simplify their regimen, according to a study published in JAIDS.

The study analyzed data from 4,052 individuals in Italy who started antiretroviral therapy between 2008 and 2014, and subsequently discontinued their regimen, which was defined as stopping or switching at least one of the drugs in a regimen. The study population was mostly male (78.9%) with a median age of 39.

About 29% discontinued because of simplification, defined by the researchers as either reducing the number of drugs in the regimen or reducing the number of daily doses or pills. Unsurprisingly, this included a preference for a single-tablet regimen.


About 21% discontinued because of intolerance, defined as the patient's general unwillingness or refusal to tolerate the drug, but not because of any clinical signs of the drug's harmfulness.

About 19% discontinued because of toxicity, which was defined as adverse effects related to drug exposure.

Looking further, 18% discontinued because of other causes, including personal choice, pregnancy, enrolling in or ending of a clinical trial, and drug-drug interactions.

Finally, 8% discontinued because of failure, 4% because of a planned discontinuation, and 2% because of non-adherence.

Also, based on patient data available on viral load status, 98.9% of participants had an undetectable viral load after two years of starting treatment.

Although there was a variety of initial treatment regimens, the choice of simplification -- particularly to a single-tablet regimen -- was the leading reason for discontinuation, so there is a clear trend toward tailoring treatment regimens, the researchers concluded.

Read: Last Week in HIV Research: HIV Criminalization Laws May Increase Condomless Sex.

Upcoming Research

CROI 2016 Preview: New Research on HIV Cure, Remission, Treatment and Prevention

There's a lot to look forward to at CROI 2016, with highlights including the latest research on HIV treatment, prevention and cure. CROI is well regarded as the premiere conference where the latest, most important discoveries in HIV research and science are presented. The conference kicks off next week in Boston, so stay tuned for our full coverage.

Warren Tong is the senior science editor for and

Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by TheBodyPRO.

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