Author(s): Kumarasamy N, Vallabhaneni S, Cecelia AJ, Yepthomi T, Balakrishnan P,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To describe reasons for modification and discontinuation of antiretroviral regimens in association with adverse events (AEs), treatment failure, and cost among patients in southern India. METHODS: Secular trends of patients initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) between January 1996 and October 2004 at a tertiary HIV referral center in India were analyzed using a previously validated natural history database. RESULTS: All previously antiretroviral therapy-naive patients who initiated HAART (N = 1443) and had at least 1 follow-up visit were evaluated. The median CD4 count at the time of initiating HAART was 108 cells/microL. The most common first-line regimens were stavudine (d4T) plus lamivudine (3TC) plus nevirapine (NVP) (63\%), zidovudine (AZT) plus 3TC plus NVP (19\%), d4T plus 3TC plus efavirenz (EFV) (9\%), and AZT plus 3TC plus EFV (4\%). Twenty percent of patients modified their first-line regimen. The most common reason for modifying therapy was the development of an AE (64\%), followed by cost (19\%) and treatment failure (14\%), with median times to modify therapy being 40, 151, and 406 days, respectively. Common AEs were itching and/or skin rash (66\%), hepatotoxicity (27\%), and anemia (23\%). Nine percent of patients discontinued therapy entirely after a median duration of 124 days, primarily because of cost (64\%). CONCLUSION: The most common reason for modifying therapy was the occurrence of AEs, whereas cost was the most common reason for discontinuing therapy. Despite increasing access to lower cost generic HAART in India, even less expensive and more tolerable first-line regimens and cost-effective treatment monitoring tools need to be introduced to achieve better treatment outcomes and access in resource-constrained settings.
This article was published in J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr
and referenced in Clinical Pediatrics: Open Access