BACKGROUND - Polymorphisms in CYP2B6 are known to predict increased steady-state plasma concentrations of efavirenz. We characterized relationships between genetic polymorphisms and plasma efavirenz concentrations among 45 Haitians who initiated antiretroviral therapy in Port-au-Prince.
METHODS - An observational study characterized relationships between clinical factors, pharmacokinetics, and treatment response among antiretroviral-naive patients initiating once-daily treatment with efavirenz plus twice-daily treatment with zidovudine and lamivudine. Plasma drug concentrations were determined at weeks 2 and 4. Drug doses were directly observed by field workers or designated family members. We retrospectively characterized relationships between efavirenz concentrations and 50 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in CYP2B6 and several polymorphisms in CYP2A6, CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and ABCB1.
RESULTS - Plasma specimens for efavirenz analysis were obtained from study participants a mean (+/- standard deviation) of 13.9 +/- 1.6 h after they received the dose. As expected, CYP2B6 516G-->T was associated with increased plasma efavirenz concentrations (Spearman rho = 0.71; P < .001), as were 10 polymorphisms in linkage disequilibrium with 516G-->T. Distinct CYP2B6 polymorphisms were associated with decreased plasma efavirenz concentrations (greatest absolute rho = 0.48; P = .001). Associations were replicated by results from a recent pharmacokinetic study involving 34 healthy, human immunodeficiency virus-negative African Americans.
CONCLUSIONS - Relatively frequent CYP2B6 polymorphisms may predict decreased plasma efavirenz exposure in patients of African descent. If replicated in other cohorts, the implications of these novel associations for treatment response warrant further study.