June 30, 1998
Not surprisingly, the four drug combination was more effective than the three drug regimen at reducing viral load. After 24 weeks, 85.3% of the 4-drug patients had viral load levels under 400 copies, while 66.2% of patients on the 3-drug arm were <400 copies. This second number is less impressive than viral load reductions seen in other trials, a fact that could be attributed to the amount of NRTI experience among the patients. Benefit was seen in patients with baseline viral loads both above and below the100,000 copies per mL level, and both study arms saw significant increases in CD4 cell count, in the 100-120 cell range.
The study drugs were well-tolerated in both arms, but one must wonder whether a four-drug regimen (and its inherent adherence and side effect challenges) is an attractive option when some 2-drug regimens are showing equally impressive viral load reductions.