Strategies for Nevirapine Initiation in HIV-Infected Children Taking Pediatric Fixed-Dose Combination “Baby Pills” in Zambia: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Background. Fixed-dose combination scored dispersible stavudine, lamivudine, and nevirapine minitablets (Triomune Baby and Junior; Cipla Ltd) are simpler and cheaper than liquid formulations and have correct dose ratios for human immunodeficiency virus-infected children. However, they cannot be used for dose escalation (DE) of nevirapine.

Methods. Children were randomized to initiate antiretroviral therapy with full-dose (FD) nevirapine (Triomune Baby or Junior in the morning and evening) versus DE (half-dose nevirapine for 14 days [Triomune in the morning and stavudine-lamivudine {Lamivir-S} in the evening], then FD), in accordance with World Health Organization weight-band dosing tables. The primary end point was nevirapine-related clinical or laboratory grade 3 or 4 adverse events (AEs).

Results. In total, 211 children (median [interquartile range {IQR}] age, 5 [2–9] years; median [IQR] CD4 cell percentage, 13% [8%-18%]) were enrolled and followed up for a median (IQR) of 92 (68–116) weeks. There were 31 grade 3 or 4 AEs that were definitely/probably or uncertainly related to nevirapine in the FD group (18.0 per 100 child-years), compared with 29 in the DE group (16.5 per 100 child-years) (incidence rate ratio, 1.09; 95% confidence interval, 0.63–1.87; P = .74). All were asymptomatic; 11 versus 3 were single grade 3 or 4 elevations in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, all of which resolved without a change in nevirapine dose or interruption. Thirteen (12%) FD versus 2 (2%) DE children had grade 1 (2 in FD) or grade 2 (11 in FD and 2 in DE) rashes. Three (2 in FD and 1 in DE) substituted efavirenz, 3 (FD) continued FD nevirapine, and 9 (8 in FD and 1 in DE) temporarily interrupted nevirapine, followed by successful DE. Predictors of nevirapine rash were older age (P = .003) and higher CD4 cell count for age (P = .03). Twenty-two children died (12 in FD and 10 in DE), 1 FD and 5 DE children at !4 weeks; none were considered to be drug related by independent review.

Conclusions. Rash was more frequent with FD nevirapine, but 88% had no clinical toxicity; elevated AST or ALT levels were transient and resolved spontaneously, suggesting that routine laboratory monitoring has limited value. Dual pediatric stavudine-lamivudine minitablets are preferred for safe and simple DE; if unavailable, initiating FD Triomune requires timely review for rash, which could be managed by temporary reduction to half-dose Triomune or efavirenz substitution.


Mulenga, V.; Cook, A.; Walker, A.S.; Kabamba, D.; Chijoka, C.; Ferrier, A.; Kalengo, C.; Kityo, C.; Kankasa, C.; Burger, D.; Thomason, M.; Chintu, C.; Gibb, D.M. Strategies for Nevirapine Initiation in HIV‐Infected Children Taking Pediatric Fixed‐Dose Combination “Baby Pills” in Zambia: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Infectious Diseases (2010) 51 (9) 1081-1089. [DOI: 10.1086/656628]

Strategies for Nevirapine Initiation in HIV-Infected Children Taking Pediatric Fixed-Dose Combination “Baby Pills” in Zambia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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