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Second-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings: the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières

Pujades-Rodríguez, Mara; O'Brien, Danielb; Humblet, Pierreb; Calmy, Alexandrac

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282fa75b9
Clinical Science

Objectives: To describe the use of second-line protease-inhibitor regimens in Médecins Sans Frontières HIV programmes, and determine switch rates, clinical outcomes, and factors associated with survival.

Design/Methods: We used patient data from 62 Médecins Sans Frontières programmes and included all antiretroviral therapy-naive adults (> 15 years) at the start of antiretroviral therapy and switched to a protease inhibitor-containing regimen with at least one nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor change after more than 6 months of nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor first-line use. Cumulative switch rates and survival curves were estimated using Kaplan–Meier methods, and mortality predictors were investigated using Poisson regression.

Results: Of 48 338 adults followed on antiretroviral therapy, 370 switched to a second-line regimen after a median of 20 months (switch rate 4.8/1000 person-years). Median CD4 cell count at switch was 99 cells/μl (interquartile ratio 39–200; n = 244). A lopinavir/ritonavir-based regimen was given to 51% of patients and nelfinavir-based regimen to 43%; 29% changed one nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor and 71% changed two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Median follow-up on second-line antiretroviral therapy was 8 months, and probability of remaining in care at 12 months was 0.86. Median CD4 gains were 90 at 6 months and 135 at 12 months. Death rates were higher in patients in World Health Organization stage 4 at antiretroviral therapy initiation and in those with CD4 nadir count less than 50 cells/μl.

Conclusion: The rate of switch to second-line treatment in antiretroviral therapy-naive adults on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based first-line antiretroviral therapy was relatively low, with good early outcomes observed in protease inhibitor-based second-line regimens. Severe immunosuppression was associated with increased mortality on second-line treatment.

From the aEpicentre

bMédecins Sans Frontières (MSF) AIDS Working Group, Paris, France

cCampaign for Access to Essential Medicines, MSF, Geneva, Switzerland.

Received 29 October, 2007

Revised 16 January, 2008

Accepted 18 January, 2008

Correspondence to Mar Pujades, Epicentre, Paris, France. E-mail: mar.pujades@epicentre.msf.org

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.