Mar 31, 2004
With all the pluses and minuses starting treatment on Trizivir alone, I think we have a success story here. DXed + May '03, CD4 798 VL 85K. October labs were VL 700K+, CD4 390. Started Trizivir alone and within six weeks (or less), undetectable with CD4 410.
Then came all the Sustiva-is-superior studies. Meanwhile with the success I'm having, should I worry about intensifying, or stick with what has been a good thing?
Response from Dr. Pierone
This is a controversial topic, but here goes. Studies have shown that even those with an undetectable viral load on Trizivir have a higher rate of virologic failure over time compared to a Sustiva-based regimen. However, the majority of people that are undetectable on Trizivir continue to do great, some for as many years as the agent has been available. Also, if resistance does develop in the future, it is manageable, especially if dealt with promptly. Moreover, there are costs (both financial and toxicity) to intensifying with a 4th agent like Sustiva.
A conservative approach would be to switch to a three drug regimen like Combivir (AZT and 3TC) and Sustiva. But this switch carries with it the uncertainty of a new drug versus an established regimen.
My personal approach with patients on Trizivir that are undetectable is to leave them alone. I am especially inclined to do so in those that have been on Trizivir for years with sustained virological control. Hope this helps and best of luck!
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