Support implementation of and access to a stand-alone ritonavir booster formulation for HIV-TB co-infected children
current phase of drug development
updated 1 Jun 2021
Research proves that ‘super-boosting’ the antiretroviral ritonavir counteracts negative interactions with the common TB drug rifampicin
New hope for children co-infected with HIV and TB
The drug rifampicin is the backbone of treatment for drug-sensitive tuberculosis (TB). However, rifampicin reduces the bioavailability – and hence the effectiveness of – protease inhibitors such as lopinavir/ritonavir, which are antiretrovirals (ARVs) commonly used to treat HIV. This negative drug-drug interaction is a major challenge in treating kids that have both TB and HIV, a common occurrence that is especially acute in southern African countries at the heart of the HIV epidemic.
In 2013, as part of its development of child-adapted ARV formulations, DNDi began a pharmacokinetic study – which shows the relationship between dosing and the body’s exposure to drugs – to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of ‘super-boosting,’ which involves adding extra ritonavir to the lopinavir/ritonavir regimen.
This study took place at five hospitals in South Africa and included 96 infants and young children co-infected with HIV and TB. Children were given a 1:1 ratio of lopinavir and ritonavir, as opposed to the previously used 4:1 ratio. In May 2015, DNDi conducted an interim analysis that demonstrated excellent safety and efficacy of the super-boosting approach. The addition of ritonavir to reach a 1:1 ratio to lopinavir perfectly counteracts the negative interactions between lopinavir/ritonavir and rifampicin.
The results were presented to the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines Review Committee and strengthened WHO’s recommendation in 2016 to use super-boosting in TB/HIV co-infected children who are receiving lopinavir/ritonavir-based therapy. This study was completed and final results were presented in 2017 showing that super-boosting is safe and effective for TB/HIV co-infected children.
- Indication: Paediatric HIV/TB co-infection
- Dosage: Super-boosting’ ritonavir at 1:1 ratio with lopinavir to treat HIV; rifampicin to treat TB
- Supported by interim results from DNDi’s study, super-boosting ritonavir was recommended by WHO in its antiretroviral guidelines in 2016
‘All of the infants who participated in the DNDi [super-boosting] study, when they finished the TB treatment at six months they were virally suppressed. We didn’t have any problems, meaning the ARVs did work, and the infants tested negative for TB.’
Rejoice Mosia, Nurse, King Edward VIII Hospital, South Africa
News & resources
- 18 February 2020 - Abacavir exposure in children co-treated for tuberculosis with rifampicin and super-boosted lopinavir-ritonavir, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
- 6 January 2019 - Lopinavir–ritonavir super-boosting in young HIV-infected children on rifampicin-based tuberculosis therapy compared with lopinavir–ritonavir without rifampicin: a pharmacokinetic modelling and clinical study, The Lancet HIV
- 15 February 2017 - Caring for Kids with HIV and TB
- 14 February 2017 - Study confirms key therapeutic advance for children living with HIV and tuberculosis
Tuberculosis: opportunities and challenges for the 90-90-90 targets in HIV-infected children. Journal of the International AIDS Society, December 2015
by Rabie H, Frigati L, Hesseling AC, Garcia-Prats AJ.
Lopinavir/ritonavi 1:1 superboosting overcomes rifampicin interactions in children
by Rabie H, Denti P, Lee J, Coovadia A, Pillay S, Liberty A, Masango M, Mcilleron H, Cotton MF, Lallemant M
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