Antiviral therapy

The role of stavudine in the management of adults with HIV infection.

PMID 11327440


Combinations of two nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors plus a third agent represent the current standard for antiretroviral therapy. Stavudine is a nucleoside analogue that demonstrates in vitro activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and HIV-2 within an acceptable therapeutic index in a range of T lymphocyte and haematopoietic precursor cell lines. It is additive or synergistic in vitro with a number of other antiretrovirals including protease inhibitors in two and three way combinations and is active against zidovudine-resistant virus. It exhibits excellent oral bioavailability, with CSF penetration. In clinical use, stavudine exhibits antiretroviral activity as a monotherapy similar to zidovudine, and is of proven clinical benefit in zidovudine-pretreated patients. In combination with didanosine and/or nelfinavir it results in more substantial and durable responses in immunological and virological markers than reported with either drug alone. Comparative trials in zidovudine-experienced patients suggest a similar frequency of adverse events to that observed with zidovudine. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common dose-limiting toxicity with haematological and hepatic function disturbance being infrequent. Reasons for stavudine failure are not established, with no consistent genotypic pattern being associated with changes in stavudine sensitivity in vitro or in vivo. The role of stavudine is as a component of triple therapy regimens both in initial therapy and in patients with prior zidovudine experience.