New Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor: Doravirine

During AIDS2018, the results of the DRIVE FORWARD study were displayed on a poster. This study looked at the effectiveness and safety of the new non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) doravirine. Past studies have shown that this drug is effective against a virus that is resistant to other NNRTIs.


The study, which involved 766 participants, looked at whether treatment with doravirine was safer and more effective than treatment with darunavir and the booster ritonavir. These participants were therapy-naive, which means they had never taken HIV inhibitors before. The participants all received two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs): either tenofovir and emtricitabine or abacavir and lamivudine. In addition to this, they also received doravirine or darunavir and the booster ritonavir. The study found that after 96 weeks, doravirine was more effective at suppressing the viral load. 73% of the participants who took doravirine had an undetectable viral load, compared with 66% of the group who took darunavir and a booster.

Side Effects

About one third of the participants in both groups experienced side effects. Common side effects were diarrhea, nausea, headache and respiratory tract infection. Neuropsychiatric side effects, on the other hand, were less common in people who took doravirine (16% compared with 19% in the other group).


The researchers concluded that doravirine is more effective at suppressing the viral load. There was also little resistance, and doravirine has a more positive effect on cholesterol and fatty acids in the blood.

Molina J-M et al. Doravirine (DOR) versus ritonavir-boosted darunavir (DRV+r): 96-week results of the randomized, double-blind, phase 3 DRIVE-FORWARD noninferiority trial. 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018), Amsterdam, abstract LBPEB017, 2018.

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