Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an anti-malarial agent used to treat patients with autoimmune diseases, has been shown to suppress human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication in T cells and monocytes in vitro by inhibiting posttranscriptional modification of the virus. An initial randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in 38 asymptomatic HIV-1-infected patients who had CD4+ counts between 200 and 500 cells/mm3 demonstrated that the amount of recoverable virus declined significantly in the HCQ group compared with the placebo group over the 8-week study period. These preliminary observations were expanded into a second 16-week clinical trial comparing the efficacy of HCQ with that of zidovudine (ZDV) in 72 asymptomatic HIV-1-infected patients with CD4+ counts between 200 and 500 cells/mm3. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either HCQ 800 mg/d (n = 35) or ZDV 500 mg/d (n = 37) for 16 weeks. No adverse reactions to the study medications were observed in either the HCQ or ZDV group. Patients in both groups had reduced levels of recoverable HIV-1 RNA in the plasma, reduced levels of cultured virus, and reduced levels of serum p24 antigen after the 16-week study period. However, no difference was noted in absolute CD4+ counts between the two groups. Interleukin-6 and serum immunoglobulin G levels were significantly reduced in the HCQ group but not in the ZDV group. These findings support the results of the previous clinical trial. Thus HCQ may be potentially useful in the treatment of patients with HIV-1 infection.
- HIV- 1