Saquinavir (Invirase)

Published January 25, 2001; Updated October 08, 2015
Susa Coffey, MD
Selected Reference
3. Kirk  O, Katzenstein  TL, Gerstoft  J, Mathiesen  L, Nielsen  H, Pedersen  C, Lundgren  JD.
Combination therapy containing ritonavir plus saquinavir has superior short-term antiretroviral efficacy: a randomized trial. AIDS. 1999 Jan;13(1):F9-16
[PubMed ID: 10207539]
OBJECTIVES: To compare the efficacy and safety of indinavir 800 mg three times a day, ritonavir 600 mg twice a day, and a combination of ritonavir 400 mg twice a day and saquinavir 400 mg twice a day, when administered with two nucleoside analogues. DESIGN: A randomized, open-labelled, controlled trial. Two hundred and eighty-four patients started randomized treatment. The primary end-point was the proportion of patients with HIV RNA of 200 copies/ml or less (Roche Amplicor) and HIV RNA of 20 copies/ml or less (Roche ultradirect assay) at 6 months. Analysis was performed as intent-to-treat, and missing values were accounted for as failures. RESULTS: As of 1 May 1998, 269 patients should have completed 24 weeks of treatment. The proportion of patients with HIV RNA of 200 copies/ml or less was 71% (indinavir), 67% (ritonavir), and 82% (ritonavir + saquinavir), P = 0.07. In antiretroviral drug-naive patients (n = 119), the corresponding figures were 63, 57, and 89% (P < 0.01), whereas among drug-experienced patients (n = 165) 77, 74, and 77% had HIV RNA of 200 copies/ml or less (P = 0.90). The same pattern was observed in the ultradirect analysis. All three regimens were generally safe, but significantly more patients in the ritonavir group (37%) stopped treatment because of adverse drug reactions compared with the indinavir group (8%) and the ritonavir plus saquinavir group (16%) (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with saquinavir plus ritonavir in combination with two nucleoside analogues is generally safe, and has superior short-term antiviral efficacy compared with indinavir and ritonavir also combined with two nucleoside analogues in antiretroviral drug-naive patients. Further follow-up is needed to determine the durability of the viral response.