PloS one 2017 08 0112(8) e0182007 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0182007
Aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and the safety of switching from branded to generic antiretrovirals in patients with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL. METHODS
Matched-cohort study of patients followed at a single clinical center. Since September 2014, all patients with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL who were receiving branded lamivudine or zidovudine/lamivudine or efavirenz were switched to the generic compound (switchers) and matched, in a ratio 1:1, for age (±5 years), gender, anti-HCV antibodies, nadir and (±50 cells/μL) baseline CD4+ count (±100 cells/μL), duration of antiretroviral therapy (±1 year), with patients with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL, on treatment with unavailable generic compounds (non-switchers). Incidence rates (IR) of different outcomes were calculated and compared by Poisson regression model. A confirmed HIV-RNA ≥50 copies/mL defined virological failure; any change in the antiretroviral regimen was defined as treatment discontinuation. RESULTS
Four hundred forty patients were switched to generic compounds (268 [61%] on lamivudine, 65 [15%] on zidovudine/lamivudine, 87 [20%] on efavirenz and 20 [4%] on efavirenz and either lamivudine or zidovudine/lamivudine). Over a median follow-up of 15.0 (12.1-15.7) months, virological failure occurred in four switchers (IR: 0.07 [0.02-0.18]/100-person months of follow-up [PMFU]) and in ten non-switchers (IR: 0.20 [0.10-0.35]/100-PMFU) (p = 0.0003), while treatment discontinuation occurred in 118 switchers (IR: 2.05 [1.70-2.44]/100-PMFU) and in 128 non-switchers (IR: 2.37 [1.99-2.81]/100-PMFU) (p = 0.699).
After more than one year of follow-up, we found no evidence of increased risk of reduced efficacy or increased toxicity after switching from branded to generic lamivudine or zidovudine/lamivudine or efavirenz.