Acceptability of lopinavir/r pellets (minitabs), tablets and syrups in HIV-infected children.
Kekitiinwa A., Musiime V., Thomason MJ., Mirembe G., Lallemant M., Nakalanzi S., Baptiste D., Walker AS., Gibb DM., Judd A.
BACKGROUND: Lopinavir/ritonavir 'pellets' were recently tentatively approved for licensing. We describe their acceptability for infants and children up to 48 weeks. METHODS: CHAPAS-2 was a randomized, two-period crossover trial comparing syrup and pellets in HIV-infected infants (n=19, group A, aged 3-<12 months) and children (n=26, group B, 1-<4 years) and tablets and pellets in older children (n=32, group C, 4-<13 years) from two clinics ('JCRC', 'PIDC') in Uganda. At week 8, all groups chose which formulation to continue. Acceptability data were collected at weeks 0, 4, 8, 12 and 48. RESULTS: For groups A and B overall, the proportion preferring pellets increased between week 0 and week 12 and decreased at week 48 (group A 37%, 72%, 44%; group B 12%, 64% and 36%, respectively), although there were marked differences between clinics. For group C, pellets were progressively less preferred to tablets over time: 41%, 19% and 13% at weeks 0, 12 and 48, respectively. During follow-up unpleasant taste was similarly reported among young children taking pellets and syrups (37%/43% group A; 29%/26% group B), whereas among older children, pellets tasted worse than tablets (40%/2%). No participants reported problems with storage/transportation for pellets (0%/0%) unlike syrups (23%/13%). CONCLUSIONS: For children <4 years, pellets were more acceptable at week 12 but not week 48. Clinic differences could reflect bias among health-care workers for different formulations. Pellets taste similar to syrup, are easier to store and transport than syrup and represent an alternative formulation for young children unable to swallow tablets; improvements in taste and support for health-care workers may help sustain acceptability.