Combination nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors for treatment of HIV infection

Maxwell O. Akanbi, Kimberly Scarci, Babafemi Taiwo, Robert L. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: The combination of two nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (N(t)RTIs) and a third agent from another antiretroviral class is currently recommended for initial antiretroviral therapy. In general, N(t)RTIs remain relevant in subsequent regimens. There are currently six nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and one nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor drug entities available, and several formulations that include two or more N(t)RTIs in a fixed-dose combination. These entities have heterogeneous pharmacological and clinical properties. Accordingly, toxicity, pill burden, dosing frequency, potential drugdrug interaction, preexisting antiretroviral drug resistance and comorbid conditions should be considered when constructing a regimen. This approach is critical in order to optimize virologic efficacy and clinical outcomes. Areas covered: This article reviews N(t)RTI combinations used in the treatment of HIV-infected adults. The pharmacological properties of each N(t)RTI, and the clinical trials that have influenced treatment guidelines are discussed. Expert opinion: It is likely that N(t)RTIs will continue to dominate the global landscape of HIV treatment and prevention, despite emerging interest in N(t)RTI-free combination therapy. Clinical domains where only few alternatives to N(t)RTIs exist include treatment of HIV/HBV coinfection and HIV-2. There is a need for novel N(t)RTIs with enhanced safety and resistance profiles compared with current N(t)RTIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
  • Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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