An open-label study was conducted of nelfinavir mesylate, given with reverse transcriptase inhibitors to human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1)-infected infants and children 3 months to 13 years of age. Doses of nelfinavir mesylate of 20–30 mg/kg yielded drug exposures comparable to those seen in adults. The drug was well tolerated; mild diarrhea was the primary toxic effect observed. Seventy-one percent (39) of the 55 evaluable subjects had an initial decrease in plasma HIV-1 RNA, of at least 0.7 log10 copies/mL; suppression of plasma HIV-1 RNA levels to <400 copies/mL was observed in 15. Children who began taking at least one new reverse transcriptase inhibitor near the time when nelfinavir mesylate was started, and those with a ⩾24% proportion of CD4 lymphocytes, had a greater chance of achieving and maintaining a decline in plasma HIV- 1 RNA to <400 copies/mL. Suppression of viremia was achieved in children as young as 3 months of age.

Author notes

Katherine Luzuriaga is an Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation scientist.