Objectives: Although current guidelines recommend resistance testing prior to antiretroviral therapy (ART) reinitiation after treatment interruptions, virological failure of first-line ritonavir-boosted, protease-inhibitor (PI/r)-containing ART is associated with low emergent PI resistance. In patients experiencing unscheduled treatment interruptions (UTrIs) on ritonavir-boosted atazanavir (ATV/r) ART regimens, we hypothesized low emergence of PI mutations conferring resistance to ATV/r. Methods: In a retrospective assessment of HIV-infected patients initiating ATV/r-containing ART, using logistic regression we determined factors associated with UTrI, the prevalence of emergent resistance mutations and virological response after ART reinitiation. Results: A total of 202 patients [median age 33 years (interquartile range (IQR) 29-40 years); 52% female; median CD4 count 184 cells/μL (IQR 107-280 cells/μL); median HIV RNA 4.6 log10 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL (IQR 3.2-5.1 copies/mL)] initiated ATV/r between 2004 and 2009; 80 (43%) were ART naïve. One hundred and ten patients (55%) underwent 195 UTrIs after a median (IQR) 25 (10-52) weeks on ART, with a median (IQR) UTrI duration of 10 (3-31) weeks. Fifty-four of 110 patients (49%) underwent more than one UTrI. The commonest reasons for UTrI were nonadherence (52.7%) and drug intolerance (20%). Baseline HIV RNA >100000 copies\mL [odds ratio (OR) 3.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-9.95] and being HCV positive, an injecting drug user or on methadone (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.3-4.4) were independently associated with UTrI. In 39 patients with at least two resistance assays during UTrIs, 72 new mutations emerged; four nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), two nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and 66 protease inhibitor (PI) resistance mutations. All emergent PI resistance mutations were minor mutations. At least 65% of patients were re-suppressed on ATV/r reinitiation. Conclusions: In this PI-treated cohort, UTrIs are common. All emergent PI resistance mutations were minor and ATV/r retained activity and efficacy when reintroduced, even after several UTrIs, raising questions regarding the need for routine genotypic resistance assays in PI/r-treated patients prior to ART reinitiation after UTrI.
- Genotypic resistance
- Protease inhibitor mutations
- Unscheduled treatment interruptions
- Viral supression