Safety and efficacy of raltegravir in patients with HIV-1 and hepatitis B and/or C virus coinfection


Dr Bach-Yen T. Nguyen, Merck Research Laboratories, PO Box 1000, UG3D-56, North Wales, PA 19454-1099, USA. Tel: +1 267 305 7278; fax: +1 267 305 6477; e-mail:



The aim was to examine the long-term safety and efficacy of raltegravir in patients with HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus (HBV) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection in three double-blind, randomized, controlled Phase III studies.


In STARTMRK, treatment-naïve patients received raltegravir 400 mg twice a day (bid) or efavirenz 600 mg at bedtime, both with tenofovir/emtricitabine. In BENCHMRK-1 and -2, highly treatment-experienced patients with multi-drug resistant virus and prior treatment failure received raltegravir 400 mg bid or placebo, both with optimized background therapy. Patients with chronic HBV and/or HCV coinfection were enrolled if baseline liver function tests were ≤5 times the upper limit of normal. HBV infection was defined as HBV surface antigen positivity for all studies; HCV infection was defined as HCV RNA positivity for STARTMRK and HCV antibody positivity for BENCHMRK.


Hepatitis coinfection was present in 6% (34 of 563) of treatment-naïve patients (4% HBV only, 2% HCV only and 0.2% HBV+HCV) and 16% (114 of 699) of treatment-experienced patients (6% HBV only, 9% HCV only and 1% HBV+HCV). The incidence of drug-related adverse events was similar in raltegravir recipients with and without hepatitis coinfection in both STARTMRK (50 vs. 47%) and BENCHMRK (34 vs. 38.5%). Grade 2–4 liver enzyme elevations were more frequent in coinfected vs. monoinfected patients, but were not different between the raltegravir and control groups. At week 96, the proportion of raltegravir recipients with HIV RNA <50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL was similar between coinfected and monoinfected patients (93 vs. 90% in STARTMRK; 63 vs. 61% in BENCHMRK).


Raltegravir was generally well tolerated and efficacious up to 96 weeks in HIV-infected patients with HBV/HCV coinfection.