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Background: Dolutegravir has superior efficacy and tolerability than lopinavir-ritonavir in second-line antiretroviral therapy after failure of a first-line non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors-based regimen, when dolutegravir is accompanied by at least one fully active nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). Resistance testing to select NRTIs is not feasible in low- and middle-income countries due to cost and limited laboratory capacity. Evidence suggests that recycling tenofovir plus lamivudine or emtricitabine backbone with dolutegravir could provide an effective second-line option. This study aims to determine the virologic efficacy of tenofovir-lamivudine-dolutegravir (TLD) with and without a lead-in supplementary dose of dolutegravir (to counteract the inducing effect of efavirenz) in patients failing a first-line regimen of tenofovir-emtricitabine-efavirenz (TEE). Methods: We will perform a parallel group, randomised (1:1), double blind, placebo-controlled, Phase II trial, comparing TLD fixed dose combination daily with a lead-in supplementary 50 mg dolutegravir dose versus matching placebo taken 12 hours later for the first 14 days, in patients failing a first-line TEE regimen. The trial will be set in two primary care clinics in Khayelitsha; a large, peri-urban informal settlement in Cape Town, South Africa. We will enrol 130 participants, with follow-up to 48 weeks. The primary endpoint is proportion achieving viral load <50 copies/mL at week 24 using a modified intention-to-treat analysis and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration snapshot algorithm. Secondary endpoints include virologic suppression at weeks 12 and 48, time to suppression, emergence of dolutegravir and new NRTI resistance mutations, safety, and tolerability. Discussion: Impaired viral fitness due to NRTI resistance mutations and dolutegravir’s high barrier to resistance provide rationale for switching patients from a failing TEE regimen to TLD; however, clinical evidence regarding virologic efficacy is lacking. This study provides estimates of such a strategy’s early virologic efficacy with and without a supplementary dolutegravir dosing. Registration: NCT03991013 (19/06/2019).

Original publication





Wellcome Open Research

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