Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of Changes in Antiretroviral Regimens for HIV-infected Patients
Purpose. Antiretroviral therapy is now available for HIV-infected patients, and so-called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) now makes it possible to strongly suppress viral proliferation and restore immunity. However, the development of new drugs and regimens for HAART is still in progress, with the aim of overcoming a number of associated problems. For this purpose, changes in the prescribed anti-HIV drugs are often made. In the present study, we attempted to clarify the actual effects of such treatment modifications in patients who had been started on HAART. Methods. We retrospectively investigated HIV-infected patients who had been started on HAART at Kitasato University Hospital between April 1997 and March 2013. The patients’ backgrounds, characteristics and laboratory data were established from the hospital medical records. Results. The total follow-up time was 447.3 person-years. The patients remained on their initial regimen for a median period of 2040 days, and 39 patients took a second regimen for a median of 2714 days. There was no treatment failure due to regimen change. The reason for the regimen change was adverse effects in 49 cases, poor adherence/virological failure in 4, immunological failure in 3, patient request in 2, and proposals made by health care workers, or for simplification, in 11. The number of patients who required regimen change due to renal dysfunction showed a gradual increase. The number of times anti-HIV drugs were taken per day was not altered when the regimen changed, being mainly once or twice a day. Conclusion. In the present study, there were no instances of treatment failure due to regimen change. Through appropriate regimen change, it is possible to avoid serious adverse effects, and to improve patient adherence. Further adverse effects associated with long-term antiretroviral therapy, and reduction of adherence through medication fatigue should be considered. Drug selection and regimen change should be considered in relation to long-term prognosis.
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