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Dolutegravir Plus Two Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors versus Efavirenz Plus Two Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors As Initial Antiretroviral Therapy for People with HIV: A Systematic Review.

  • Author(s): Rutherford, George W;
  • Horvath, Hacsi
  • et al.


Dolutegravir (DTG) is a once-daily unboosted second-generation integrase-inhibitor that along with two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors is one of several regimens recommended by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union for first-line antiretroviral treatment of people with HIV infection. Our objective was to review the evidence for the efficacy and safety of DTG-based first-line regimens compared to efavirenz (EFV)-based regimens.


We conducted a systematic review. We comprehensively searched a range of databases as well as conference abstracts and a trials registry. We used Cochrane methods in screening and data collection and assessed each study's risk of bias with the Cochrane tool. We meta-analyzed data using a fixed-effects model. We used GRADE to assess evidence quality.


From 492 search results, we identified two randomized controlled trials, reported in five peer-reviewed articles and one conference abstract. One trial tested two DTG-based regimens (DTG + abacavir (ABC) + lamivudine (3TC) or DTG + tenofovir + emtricitabine) against an EFV-based regimen (EFV+ ABC+3TC). The other trial tested DTG+ABC+3TC against EFV+ABC+3TC. In meta-analysis, DTG-containing regimens were superior to EFV-containing regimens at 48 weeks and at 96 weeks (RR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.04-1.16; and RR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.04-1.21, respectively). In one trial, the DTG-containing regimen was superior at 144 weeks (RR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.02-1.24). DTG-containing regimens were superior in reducing treatment discontinuation compared to those containing EFV at 96 weeks and at 144 weeks (RR = 0.27, 95% CI 0.15-0.50; and RR = 0.28, 95% CI 0.16-0.48, respectively). Risk of serious adverse events was similar in each regimen at 96 weeks (RR = 1.15, 95% CI 0.80-1.63) and 144 weeks (RR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.68-1.29). Risk of bias was moderate overall, as was GRADE evidence quality.


DTG-based regimens should be considered in future World Health Organization guidelines for initial HIV treatment.

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