Discontinuing cotrimoxazole preventive therapy in HIV-infected adults who are stable on antiretroviral treatment in Uganda (COSTOP): A randomised placebo controlled trial

Publication Date: 
Monday, December 31, 2018
Anywaine Z, Levin J, Kasirye R, Lutaakome JK, Abaasa A, Nunn A, Grosskurth H, Munderi P; COSTOP research team

BACKGROUND:
Cotrimoxazole (CTX) preventive therapy (CPT) reduces opportunistic infections and malaria in HIV-infected patients. In Africa, policies on sustained CPT during antiretroviral therapy (ART) differ between countries. We assessed the safety of discontinuing CPT in stable patients on ART in Uganda.

METHODS:
COSTOP was a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Patients aged ≥18 years, on CPT, and stable on ART (CD4 counts ≥250 cells/μL); were randomised to daily oral placebo (PLC group) or cotrimoxazole 960 mg/tablet (CTX group). Co-primary outcomes were: (i) time to first cotrimoxazole-preventable infection, with non- inferiority of PLC defined as the upper one-sided 95% confidence limit of the adjusted hazard ratio(aHR) ≤1.25; and (ii) time to first grade 3/4 haematological adverse event.

FINDINGS:
2180 subjects (1091 PLC; 1089 CTX) were enrolled. 932 PLC and 943 CTX completed the trial after 12 months minimum follow up. Ninety-eight participants (59 PLC; 39 CTX) experienced 120 cotrimoxazole- preventable events, mainly bacterial pneumonia (72 events, 4 deaths PLC); (48 events, 2 deaths CTX). The aHR for time to first event was 1.57 (upper one-sided 95% confidence limit 2.21) in per protocol population (similar results in ITT population). 551 participants (318 CTX; 233 PLC) experienced 1043 haematological adverse events (616 CTX; 427 PLC). Time to the first adverse event, mainly neutropenia, was shorter in the CTX group (aHR 0.70 95%CI 0.59-0.82; log-rank χ2 = 18.08; P<0.0001). 362 (276 PLC, 86 CTX) participants experienced at least one episode of confirmed clinical malaria (P<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION:
In ART stable patients with CD4 counts ≥250 cells/μL, continued CPT significantly reduces risk of severe bacterial infections and protects against malaria, while discontinuing CPT reduces haematological adverse events.

Publisher: 
PLoS One