Nevirapine-based antiretroviral therapy started early in the course of tuberculosis treatment in adult Malawians.
until further notice
SourceAntiviral Therapy, 12, 4, (2007), pp. 515-21
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectCTR 2: Clinical Pharmacology and physiology; N4i 2: Invasive mycoses and compromised host; N4i 3: Poverty-related infectious diseases; NCEBP 13: Infectious diseases and international health; UMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences; UMCN 4.1: Microbial pathogenesis and host defense
BACKGROUND: The tuberculosis (TB) mortality rate of registered TB patients in Malawi is 23%, and 59% of the deaths occur in the first 2 months of treatment. HIV-related complications appear to be an important cause. Starting antiretroviral therapy early during tuberculosis treatment may improve outcome but problems often arise with drug interactions, adherence, toxicity and immune reconstitution disease (IRD). METHODS: We prospectively followed 27 HIV-infected adult Malawians after starting Triomune (a generic fixed drug combination of stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine) in the second week of tuberculosis treatment. RESULTS: At baseline, 88% had CD4+ T-cell counts <100 cells/ml, all were anaemic and 78% were malnourished. Five patients (19%) died, two withdrew consent and one stopped all drugs due to hepatitis. At 6 months, all but one of the 19 remaining patients had good virological results (16 patients: <400 copies/ml, two patients: <1,000 copies/ml) and the median CD4+ T cell increase was 170 cells/ml. Adverse events were numerous, particularly in the first 2 months. Suspected IRD episodes could be managed without treatment interruptions. During the lead-in phase, 59% of nevirapine plasma levels were sub-therapeutic despite good adherence, compared with only 14% during weeks 4 and 8. CONCLUSION: It is feasible to start Triomune early during TB treatment with good treatment outcome. The nevirapine lead-in phase should be avoided when rifampicin-based tuberculosis treatment is started >1 week beforehand.
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