A phase-I study of the safety, pharmacokinetics, and antiviral activity of combination didanosine and ribavirin in patients with HIV-1 disease

Anthony J. Japour, Juan J. Lertora, Patricia M. Meehan, Alejo Erice, James D. Connor, Brigitte P. Griffith, Pamela A. Clax, Jeanne Holden-Wiltse, S. Hussey, Mary Walesky, Elizabeth Cooney, Richard B Pollard, Joseph Timpone, Colin McLaren, Nils Johanneson, Kenneth Wood, David K. Booth, Yannis Bassiakos, Clyde S. Crumpacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A phase-I study was conducted to examine the safety, pharmacokinetics, and activity of combination 2',3'-dideoxyinosine (ddI) and ribavirin against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-positive individuals with CD4+ cell counts of ≤500/μl. Nineteen patients were enrolled into the study in which ddI monotherapy (200 mg p.o. b.i.d.) was administered for the first 4 weeks, followed by the coadministration of ribavirin (600 mg p.o. q.d.) and ddI (200 mg p.o. b.i.d.) for 8 or 20 additional weeks. The combination regimen was safe and well tolerated. Three patients did not complete 12 weeks of the study because of adverse events or voluntary withdrawal. The pharmacokinetic studies performed at weeks 4, 6, and 12 on specimens collected from the 15 individuals who completed 12 weeks of therapy revealed no pharmacokinetic interaction between ddI and ribavirin. A significant decline from baseline in HIV-1 titer as measured by quantitative HIV-1 culture was detected both during the ddI-monotherapy phase (week 4, p < 0.001) and during the combination-therapy ddI + ribavirin phase (week 12, p < 0.001); the median drop observed was 0.90 log10 at week 4 and 0.92 log10 at week 12. While the addition of ribavirin did not result in further reductions in viremia in the following weeks on study treatment, 13 (81%) of the 16 patients had at least a -0.5 log10 change in viral titer at week 12. The median decline in plasma vital RNA was 0.68 log10 at week 4 (p < 0.001) and 0.67 log10 at week 12 (p = 0.005). CD4+ cell counts increased above baseline significantly during the ddI-monotherapy phase of the study (p = 0.0038). The median increase was + 26 cells/mm3 at week 4 and + 11 cells/mm3 at week 12; for patients who remained on treatment through 24 weeks, the median CD4+ cell count increase was + 10 cells/mm3. The L74V ddI resistance-conferring HIV-1 reverse-transcriptase mutation emerged in 53% of the patients. Patients with non-syncytium-inducing HIV variants demonstrated greater responses to treatment with larger decreases in virus load and greater increases in CD4+ cell count. Our results reveal that the combination of ddI and ribavirin in HIV positive patients is safe, well tolerated, without adverse pharmacologic interaction, and associated with significant and sustained declines in virus load over 12 weeks of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Didanosine
  • HIV-1
  • Phase-I study
  • Ribavirin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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