Author(s): Onyedum CC
Second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) accounts for less than 5% of total ART in resource-limited settings. We described the baseline characteristics, reasons for switch and treatment outcomes of Nigerian patients receiving second-line ART.
In this retrospective cohort study we recorded the baseline characteristics of HIV-infected adults whose treatment regimen was switched from a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, a first-line agent, to a protease inhibitor-based second-line regimen. The duration of follow-up was 12 months.
Of 4229 patients who started first-line therapy, 186 (4.4%) were switched to second-line therapy after a mean duration of 16.6 ± 7.6 months. Their mean age was 41.8 ± 9.6 years and 59.1% were women. The median (range) viral load and CD4 cell counts at switch were 4.7 (4.1-6.3) log10 copies/ml and 71 (6-610) cells/µl, respectively. The predominant reason for switch was virological failure (79.0%). Only 55.4% and 36.6% of patients had CD4 cell count and viral load at 12 months. About 82%, 79% and 82% of patients with available data achieved virological suppression at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months respectively (p = 0.81). The proportion of patients who achieved ≥50% rise in CD4 cell count increased from 55.8% at 3 months to 78.6% at 12 months (p = 0.0002).
The rate of switch to second-line therapy was low but there were good treatment outcomes among patients with available data. Attrition rate was high. Regular viral load monitoring, improved availability/affordability of second-line regimens and retention in care should become priorities in resource-limited settings.Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals