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This article has been peer reviewed.

It was published in: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Volume 66, December 2010, Pages: 363-370.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkq457. Copyright © Oxford University Press


OBJECTIVES: To examine whether the overall results of the CASTLE study pertain to both genders, we analysed the efficacy and safety of atazanavir/ritonavir and lopinavir/ritonavir in 277 female and 606 male patients in the open-label, multinational trial over 96 weeks. The trial is registered with, number NCT00272779.

METHODS: Treatment-naive patients aged ≥ 18 years with HIV-1 RNA ≥ 5000 copies/mL were randomized to receive either atazanavir/ritonavir 300/100 mg once daily or lopinavir/ritonavir 400/100 mg twice daily, with fixed-dose tenofovir/emtricitabine 300/200 mg once daily.

RESULTS: At week 96, confirmed virological response rates (HIV RNA <50 copies>/mL; intent-to-treat analysis) were higher in women and men receiving atazanavir/ritonavir than those receiving lopinavir/ritonavir and lower in women than men in both treatment arms (67% of women and 77% of men on atazanavir/ritonavir and 63% of women and 71% of men on lopinavir/ritonavir). These differences were not observed in the on-treatment analysis. Mean change in CD4 cell count from baseline to week 96 was 265 cells/mm(3) for women and 269 cells/mm(3) for men on atazanavir/ritonavir and 298 cells/mm(3) for women and 286 cells/mm(3) for men on lopinavir/ritonavir. Discontinuation rates were higher in women than men in each treatment arm (22% of women and 15% of men on atazanavir/ritonavir and 29% of women and 18% of men on lopinavir/ritonavir). In women and men, grade 2-4 nausea and diarrhoea were more frequent in the lopinavir/ritonavir group; jaundice and hyperbilirubinaemia occurred more frequently in the atazanavir/ritonavir group.

CONCLUSIONS: Once-daily atazanavir/ritonavir is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic option for women and men with HIV-1 infection. The sex-based differences in response may be due to higher discontinuation rates in women.

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