Clinical trials in Canada to explore reducing inflammation in HIV

A number of clinical trials are underway to study therapies that can help reduce inflammation and have other beneficial effects in people on HIV treatment (ART). Here are some in Canada:


Pitavastatin is approved in the U.S. but not in Canada for the management of cholesterol levels. Small clinical trials suggest that pitavastatin not only helps to normalize cholesterol levels but can also reduce some measures of inflammation. Also, pitavastatin does not increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a problem with some statins.

The main purpose of the Reprieve study is to find out if the use of pitavastatin can reduce deaths from heart attack, stroke or other complications of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers are seeking volunteers with the following basic profile:

  • living with HIV between the ages of 40 and 75
  • on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least 6 months prior to study entry
  • no history of cardiovascular disease (including heart attack or stroke)
  • not currently using a statin drug
  • low-to-moderate risk for developing heart disease
  • not pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant

To find out more about Reprieve and consider participation, readers can contact study centres in Canada.


This study, taking place at McGill University in Montreal, is assessing the impact of extracts of marijuana on inflammation in people with HIV.

CTNPT 022B (Proov It 2)

This study, taking place in Toronto, involves the use of friendly bacteria (probiotics) that researchers hope to show will reduce inflammation in the gut and possibly general inflammation in HIV-positive people.

There are also clinical trials in the U.S. that are trying to reduce inflammation in people with HIV: one with low doses of the anti-cancer medicine methotrexate and another study of the antibody canakinumab (reported earlier in this issue of TreatmentUpdate). There are likely other studies being planned, as researchers have different ideas about how to suppress excess inflammation and immune activation in HIV.

—Sean R. Hosein