Mechanism of Action
Efavirenz (EFV) is an NNRTI of HIV-1. EFV activity is mediated predominantly by noncompetitive inhibition of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). HIV-2 RT and human cellular DNA polymerases α, β, γ, and δ are not inhibited by EFV.
Antiviral Activity in Cell Culture
The concentration of EFV inhibiting replication of wild-type laboratory adapted strains and clinical isolates in cell culture by 90-95% (EC90-95 ) ranged from 1.7 to 25 nM in lymphoblastoid cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and macrophage/monocyte cultures. EFV demonstrated antiviral activity against clade B and most non-clade B isolates (subtypes A, AE, AG, C, D, F, G, J, N), but had reduced antiviral activity against group O viruses. EFV demonstrated additive antiviral activity without cytotoxicity against HIV-1 in cell culture when combined with the NNRTIs delavirdine (DLV) and nevirapine (NVP), NRTIs (abacavir, didanosine, emtricitabine, lamivudine [LAM], stavudine, tenofovir, zalcitabine, zidovudine [ZDV]), PIs (amprenavir, indinavir [IDV], lopinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir), and the fusion inhibitor enfuvirtide. EFV demonstrated additive to antagonistic antiviral activity in cell culture with atazanavir. EFV was not antagonistic with adefovir, used for the treatment of hepatitis B virus infection, or ribavirin, used in combination with interferon for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection.
In cell culture
In cell culture, HIV-1 isolates with reduced susceptibility to EFV (>380-fold increase in EC90 value) emerged rapidly in the presence of drug. Genotypic characterization of these viruses identified single amino acid substitutions L100I or V179D, double substitutions L100I/V108I, and triple substitutions L100I/V179D/Y181C in RT.
Clinical isolates with reduced susceptibility in cell culture to EFV have been obtained. One or more RT substitutions at amino acid positions 98, 100, 101, 103, 106, 108, 188, 190, 225, and 227 were observed in patients failing treatment with EFV in combination with IDV, or with ZDV plus LAM. The mutation K103N was the most frequently observed. Long-term resistance surveillance (average 52 weeks, range 4-106 weeks) analyzed 28 matching baseline and virologic failure isolates. Sixty-one percent (17/28) of these failure isolates had decreased EFV susceptibility in cell culture with a median 88-fold change in EFV susceptibility (EC50 value) from reference. The most frequent NNRTI substitution to develop in these patient isolates was K103N (54%). Other NNRTI substitutions that developed included L100I (7%), K101E/Q/R (14%), V108I (11%), G190S/T/A (7%), P225H (18%), and M230I/L (11%).
Cross-resistance among NNRTIs has been observed. Clinical isolates previously characterized as EFV-resistant were also phenotypically resistant in cell culture to DLV and NVP compared to baseline. DLV- and/or NVP-resistant clinical viral isolates with NNRTI resistance-associated substitutions (A98G, L100I, K101E/P, K103N/S, V106A, Y181X, Y188X, G190X, P225H, F227L, or M230L) showed reduced susceptibility to EFV in cell culture. Greater than 90% of NRTI-resistant clinical isolates tested in cell culture retained susceptibility to EFV.
Long-term carcinogenicity studies in mice and rats were carried out with efavirenz. Mice were dosed with 0, 25, 75, 150, or 300 mg/kg/day for 2 years. Incidences of hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas and pulmonary alveolar/bronchiolar adenomas were increased above background in females. No increases in tumor incidence above background were seen in males. There was no NOAEL in females established for this study because tumor findings occurred at all doses. AUC at the NOAEL (150 mg/kg) in the males was approximately 0.9 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose. In the rat study, no increases in tumor incidence were observed at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day, for which AUCs were 0.1 (males) or 0.2 (females) times those in humans at the recommended clinical dose.
Efavirenz tested negative in a battery of in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity assays. These included bacterial mutation assays in S. typhimurium and E. coli , mammalian mutation assays in Chinese hamster ovary cells, chromosome aberration assays in human peripheral blood lymphocytes or Chinese hamster ovary cells, and an in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay.
Impairment of Fertility
Efavirenz did not impair mating or fertility of male or female rats, and did not affect sperm of treated male rats. The reproductive performance of offspring born to female rats given efavirenz was not affected. The AUCs at the NOAEL values in male (200 mg/kg) and female (100 mg/kg) rats were approximately ≤0.15 times that in humans at the recommended clinical dose.
Nonsustained convulsions were observed in 6 of 20 monkeys receiving efavirenz at doses yielding plasma AUC values 4- to 13-fold greater than those in humans given the recommended dose [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9) ].
Study 006 , a randomized, open-label trial, compared SUSTIVA (600 mg once daily) + zidovudine (ZDV, 300 mg q12h) + lamivudine (LAM, 150 mg q12h) or SUSTIVA (600 mg once daily) + indinavir (IDV, 1000 mg q8h) with indinavir (800 mg q8h) + zidovudine (300 mg q12h) + lamivudine (150 mg q12h). Twelve hundred sixty-six patients (mean age 36.5 years [range 18-81], 60% Caucasian, 83% male) were enrolled. All patients were efavirenz-, lamivudine-, NNRTI-, and PI-naive at study entry. The median baseline CD4+ cell count was 320 cells/mm3 and the median baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 4.8 log10 copies/mL. Treatment outcomes with standard assay (assay limit 400 copies/mL) through 48 and 168 weeks are shown in Table 10. Plasma HIV RNA levels were quantified with standard (assay limit 400 copies/mL) and ultrasensitive (assay limit 50 copies/mL) versions of the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR assay. During the study, version 1.5 of the assay was introduced in Europe to enhance detection of non-clade B virus.
|SUSTIVA + ZDV+ LAM(n=422)||SUSTIVA + IDV(n=429)||IDV + ZDV + LAM(n=415)|
|Outcome||Week 48||Week 168||Week 48||Week 168||Week 48||Week 168|
|a Patients achieved and maintained confirmed HIV-1 RNA <400 copies/mL through Week 48 or Week 168.|
|b Includes patients who rebounded, patients who were on study at Week 48 and failed to achieve confirmed HIV-1 RNA <400 copies/mL at time of discontinuation, and patients who discontinued due to lack of efficacy.|
|c Includes consent withdrawn, lost to follow-up, noncompliance, never treated, missing data, protocol violation, death, and other reasons. Patients with HIV-1 RNA levels <400 copies/mL who chose not to continue in the voluntary extension phases of the study were censored at date of last dose of study medication.|
|Discontinued for adverse events||7%||8%||6%||8%||16%||20%|
|Discontinued for other reasonsc||17%||31%||22%||32%||21%||32%|
|CD4+ cell count (cells/mm3)|
|Observed subjects (n)||(279)||(205)||(256)||(158)||(228)||(129)|
|Mean change from baseline||190||329||191||319||180||329|
For patients treated with SUSTIVA + zidovudine + lamivudine, SUSTIVA + indinavir, or indinavir + zidovudine + lamivudine, the percentage of responders with HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL was 65%, 50%, and 45%, respectively, through 48 weeks, and 43%, 31%, and 23%, respectively, through 168 weeks. A Kaplan-Meier analysis of time to loss of virologic response (HIV RNA <400 copies/mL) suggests that both the trends of virologic response and differences in response continue through 4 years.
ACTG 364 is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 48-week study in NRTI-experienced patients who had completed two prior ACTG studies. One-hundred ninety-six patients (mean age 41 years [range 18-76], 74% Caucasian, 88% male) received NRTIs in combination with SUSTIVA (efavirenz) (600 mg once daily), or nelfinavir (NFV, 750 mg three times daily), or SUSTIVA (600 mg once daily) + nelfinavir in a randomized, double-blinded manner. The mean baseline CD4+ cell count was 389 cells/mm3 and mean baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 8130 copies/mL. Upon entry into the study, all patients were assigned a new open-label NRTI regimen, which was dependent on their previous NRTI treatment experience. There was no significant difference in the mean CD4+ cell count among treatment groups; the overall mean increase was approximately 100 cells at 48 weeks among patients who continued on study regimens. Treatment outcomes are shown in Table 11. Plasma HIV RNA levels were quantified with the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR assay using a lower limit of quantification of 500 copies/mL.
|Outcome||SUSTIVA + NFV +NRTIs(n=65)||SUSTIVA + NRTIs(n=65)||NFV + NRTIs(n=66)|
|* For some patients, Week 56 data were used to confirm the status at Week 48.|
|a Subjects achieved virologic response (two consecutive viral loads <500 copies/mL) and maintained it through Week 48.|
|b Includes viral rebound and failure to achieve confirmed <500 copies/mL by Week 48.|
|c See Adverse Reactions (6.1) for a safety profile of these regimens.|
|d Includes loss to follow-up, consent withdrawn, noncompliance.|
|HIV-1 RNA <500 copies/mLa||71%||63%||41%|
|HIV-1 RNA ≥500 copies/mLb||17%||34%||54%|
|CDC Category C Event||2%||0%||0%|
|Discontinuations for adverse eventsc||3%||3%||5%|
|Discontinuations for other reasonsd||8%||0%||0%|
A Kaplan-Meier analysis of time to treatment failure through 72 weeks demonstrates a longer duration of virologic suppression (HIV RNA <500 copies/mL) in the SUSTIVA-containing treatment arms.
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