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19.03.2020 | Review Open Access

Two’s a Company, Three’s a Crowd: A Review of Initiating or Switching to a Two-Drug Antiretroviral Regimen in Treatment-Naïve and Treatment-Experienced Patients Living with HIV-1

Infectious Diseases and Therapy
Melissa Badowski, Sarah E. Pérez, David Silva, Andrea Lee
Wichtige Hinweise

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As HIV has become a manageable chronic condition, a renewed and increased interest in challenging traditional three-drug HIV therapies and moving toward two-drug regimens (2DR) for initial or maintenance treatment in people living with HIV (PLWH) has developed. As PLWH are living longer, continual advancements in antiretroviral regimens have been a focus to provide optimal life-long therapy options. Although early studies may have shown poor outcomes in virologic suppression with 2DR, newer studies and treatment options have emerged to show promise in the management of HIV. The purpose of this review is to evaluate current literature and assess the efficacy of two-drug (2DR) antiretroviral therapy in treatment-naïve and -experienced people living with HIV.


A systematic search was performed between January 2009 to January 2020, using EMBASE, MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and bibliographies. Combinations of the following search terms were used: HIV-1 infection, antiretroviral therapy, dual therapy, two-drug regimen, two-drug therapy, two-drug regimen, and 2DR. Included studies were those in the adult population with at least one active comparator, outcomes assessing HIV-1 RNA viral load while on treatment, and written in English.


Thirty-three studies were included, 13 where 2DRs were evaluated as initial therapy (3 studies with extension data) and 15 where 2DRs were evaluated as maintenance or switch therapy (2 studies with extension data).


Although 2DRs may not be appropriate in all patient populations, they are being utilized more frequently and have the potential to reduce costs, adverse effects, and drug interactions.
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