Neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) antagonists have anti-HIV activity in monocyte-derived macrophages, decrease CCR5 expression and improve natural killer cell function ex vivo. Aprepitant is a NK1R antagonist approved by FDA as an antiemetic.
We conducted a phase IB randomized, placebo controlled, double masked study to evaluate the safety, antiviral activity, pharmacokinetics and immune-modulatory effects of aprepitant in HIV-infected adults not receiving antiretroviral therapy, with CD4+ cell count ≥350 cells/mm3 and plasma viral load ≥2,000 copies/ml. Subjects were stratified by viral load (< vs. ≥20,000 copies/ml) and randomized within each stratum to receive aprepitant at 125 mg QD(Low), or 250 mg QD(High), or placebo(PL) for 14 days, and followed for 42 days.
Thirty subjects were randomized and 27 completed treatment (9, 8, 10 subjects in 125 (Low), 250 (High), and PL groups). 63% were male; 37% white; mean (SD) age 43 (9.3) years. Geometric mean baseline viral load (copies/ml) for Low, High, and PL was 15,709, 33,013, and 19,450, respectively. Mean (95%CI) change in log10 viral load at day 14 for Low, High, and PL was −0.02(−0.24,+0.20), −0.05(−0.21,+0.10), and +0.04(−0.08,+0.16), respectively. The number of subjects with AEs was 4(44.4%), 5(62.5%), and 1(10%) for Low, High, and PL. No Grade 4 AEs occurred.
Adverse events of aprepitant were more common in the treated groups. At the dose used in this two-week phase IB study, aprepitant showed biological activity, but no significant antiviral activity.