While effective viral suppression with antiretroviral therapy has been proven to substantially reduce the risk of sexual transmission, a residual risk cannot be excluded. Precautions to prevent transmission should be taken in accordance with national guidelines.
Hypersensitivity reactions: Hypersensitivity reactions have been reported with dolutegravir, and were characterized by rash, constitutional findings, and sometimes, organ dysfunction, including severe liver reactions. Dolutegravir and other suspect agents should be discontinued immediately if signs or symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions develop (including, but not limited to, severe rash or rash accompanied by raised liver enzymes, fever, general malaise, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, blisters, oral lesions, conjunctivitis, facial oedema, eosinophilia, angioedema). Clinical status including liver aminotransferases and bilirubin should be monitored. Delay in stopping treatment with dolutegravir or other suspect active substances after the onset of hypersensitivity may result in a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Integrase class resistance of particular concern: The decision to use dolutegravir in the presence of integrase class resistance should take into account that the activity of dolutegravir is considerably compromised for viral strains harbouring Q148+≥2 secondary mutations from G140A/C/S, E138A/K/T, L74I (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions). To what extent dolutegravir provides added efficacy in the presence of such integrase class resistance is uncertain (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
Immune Reactivation Syndrome: In HIV-infected patients with severe immune deficiency at the time of institution of combination antiretroviral therapy (CART), an inflammatory reaction to asymptomatic or residual opportunistic pathogens may arise and cause serious clinical conditions, or aggravation of symptoms. Typically, such reactions have been observed within the first few weeks or months of initiation of CART. Relevant examples are cytomegalovirus retinitis, generalised and/or focal mycobacterial infections, and Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. Any inflammatory symptoms should be evaluated and treatment instituted when necessary. Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution, however, the reported time to onset is more variable and these events can occur many months after initiation of treatment.
Liver biochemistry elevations consistent with immune reconstitution syndrome were observed in some hepatitis B and/or C co-infected patients at the start of dolutegravir therapy. Monitoring of liver biochemistries is recommended in patients with hepatitis B and/or C co-infection. Particular diligence should be applied in initiating or maintaining effective hepatitis B therapy (referring to treatment guidelines) when starting dolutegravir-based therapy in hepatitis B co-infected patients (see Adverse Reactions).
Opportunistic infections: Patients should be advised that dolutegravir or any other antiretroviral therapy does not cure HIV infection and that they may still develop opportunistic infections and other complications of HIV infection. Therefore, patients should remain under close clinical observation by physicians experienced in the treatment of these associated HIV diseases.
Drug interactions: Factors that decrease dolutegravir exposure should be avoided in the presence of integrase class resistance. This includes co-administration with medicinal products that reduce dolutegravir exposure (e.g. magnesium/ aluminium-containing antacid, iron and calcium supplements, multivitamins and inducing agents, etravirine (without boosted protease inhibitors), tipranavir/ritonavir, rifampicin, St. John's wort and certain anti-epileptic medicinal products ) (see Interactions).
Dolutegravir increased metformin concentrations. A dose adjustment of metformin should be considered when starting and stopping coadministration of dolutegravir with metformin, to maintain glycaemic control (see Interactions). Metformin is eliminated renally and therefore it is of importance to monitor renal function when co-treated with dolutegravir. This combination may increase the risk for lactic acidosis in patients with moderate renal impairment (stage 3a creatinine clearance [CrCl] 45– 59 mL/min) and a cautious approach is recommended. Reduction of the metformin dose should be highly considered.
Osteonecrosis: Although the aetiology is considered to be multifactorial (including corticosteroid use, biphosphonates, alcohol consumption, severe immunosuppression, higher body mass index), cases of osteonecrosis have been reported in patients with advanced HIV-disease and/or long-term exposure to CART. Patients should be advised to seek medical advice if they experience joint aches and pain, joint stiffness or difficulty in movement.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Patients should be informed that dizziness has been reported during treatment with dolutegravir. The clinical status of the patient and the adverse reaction profile of dolutegravir should be borne in mind when considering the patient's ability to drive or operate machinery.