Open Access Open Badges Research

Virological failure of staggered and simultaneous treatment interruption in HIV patients who began Efavirenz-based regimens after allergic reactions to nevirapine

Krittaecho Siripassorn1*, Weerawat Manosuthi1, Aranya Pakdee1, Sunanta Natprom1, Anuttra Chaovavanich1, Narongsak Hengphadpanadamrong1, Khobchok Woratanarat1, Aroon Lueangniyomkul1, and Kiat Ruxrungtham2 and on behalf of the Bamrasnaradura study team

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, 126 Tiwanon Road, Nonthaburi, 11000, Thailand

2 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

For all author emails, please log on.

AIDS Research and Therapy 2013, 10:4  doi:10.1186/1742-6405-10-4

Published: 25 January 2013



The objective of this work was to study the virological outcomes associated with two different types of treatment interruption strategies in patients with allergic reactions to nevirapine (NVP). We compared the virological outcomes of (1) HIV-1-infected patients who discontinued an initial NVP-based regimen because of cutaneous allergic reactions to NVP; different types of interruption strategies were used, and second-line regimen was based on efavirenz (EFV); and (2) HIV-1-infected patients who began an EFV-based regimen as a first-line therapy (controls).


This retrospective cohort included patients who began an EFV-based regimen, between January 2002 and December 2008, as either an initial regimen or as a subsequent regimen after resolving a cutaneous allergic reaction against an initial NVP-based regimen. The study ended in March 2010. The primary outcome was virological failure, which was defined as either (a) two consecutive plasma HIV-1 RNA levels >400 copies/mL or (b) a plasma HIV-1 RNA level >1,000 copies/mL plus any genotypic resistance mutation.


A total of 559 patients were stratified into three groups: (a) Simultaneous Interruption, in which the subjects simultaneously discontinued all the drugs in an NVP-based regimen following an allergic reaction (n=161); (b) Staggered Interruption, in which the subjects discontinued NVP treatment while continuing nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone therapy for a median of 7 days (n=82); and (c) Control, in which the subjects were naïve to antiretroviral therapy (n=316). The overall median follow-up time was 43 months. Incidence of virological failure in Simultaneous Interruption was 12.9 cases per 1,000 person-years, which trended toward being higher than the incidences in Staggered Interruption (5.4) and Control (6.6). However, differences were not statistically significant.


Among the patients who had an acute allergic reaction to first-line NVP-based therapy and later began an EFV-based regimen, virological outcomes resulting from a staggered interruption of treatment (with a continuation of NRTI backbone therapy for 7 days after discontinuing NVP) did not differ from those of the patients who began an EFV-based regimen as their initial therapy (Control). However, the virological failure of Simultaneous Interruption was possibly higher than those of Control and Staggered Interruption.

Nevirapine hypersensitivity or allergy; Efavirenz; Simultaneous interruption; Staggered interruption; Thai