Research in the Fight against AIDS Foundation is structured in different lines that, as in this study, sometimes work together. On May, the journal PLoS ONE published the article "Antiretroviral Simplification with darunavir / ritonavir monotherapy in clinical practice: safety, efficacy and impact on the lipid profile", signed by Jose Ramon Santos, a physician and researcher at the Foundation, as first author. Dr. Santos is part of the Clinical Virology line, which studies the emergence of resistances to specific antiretroviral drugs. But in this study, other areas of research were involved such as Clinical Pharmacology (study on the relationship between blood drug levels and therapeutic effects) or the Toxicity of antiretrovirals and new treatment strategies (with respect to involvement of the drug on the lipid profile of the patient).
Several clinical trials had demonstrated that with the simplification of antiretroviral therapy with darunavir / ritonavir in monotherapy viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) remained suppressed. However, the efficacy and safety of this treatment had not been assessed in clinical practice.
A cohort of 92 HIV-positive patients who had been scheduled with this treatment were included in the study. To assess its effects, the scientists observed the percentage of patients who had experienced virologic failure before week 48 (patients who had suffered an increase in viral load) and how long they had kept this failure.
In addition, there were seen the reasons that had caused discontinuation of treatment and the effects of therapy on the lipid profile of patients by analyzing the evolution of cholesterol levels during the 48 weeks studied.
The article concludes that this treatment seems to be safe and effective in clinical practice. However, it appears that this strategy offers no benefit in the clinical management of patients with lipid disorders.