Unanticipated effects of new drug availability on antiretroviral durability: Implications for comparative effectiveness research

Academic Article


  • © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Background. Durability of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy is associated with improved human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) outcomes. Data on ARV regimen durability in recent years and clinical settings are lacking.Methods. This retrospective follow-up study included treatment-naive HIV-infected patients initiating ARV therapy between January 2007 and December 2012 in a university-affiliated HIV clinic in the Southeastern United States. Outcome of interest was durability (time to discontinuation) of the initial regimen. Durability was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival analyses. Cox proportional hazard analyses was used to evaluate the association among durability and sociodemographic, clinical, and regimen-level factors.Results. Overall, 546 patients were analyzed. Median durability of all regimens was 39.5 months (95% confidence interval, 34.1-44.4). Commonly prescribed regimens were emtricitabine and tenofovir with efavirenz (51%; median duration = 40.1 months) and with raltegravir (14%; 47.8 months). Overall, 67% of patients had an undetectable viral load at the time of regimen cessation. Discontinuation was less likely with an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (adjusted hazards ratio [aHR] = 0.35, P = .001) or protease inhibitor-based regimen (aHR = 0.45, P = .006) and more likely with a higher pill burden (aHR = 2.25, P = .003) and a later treatment era (aHR = 1.64, P < .001).Conclusions. Initial ARV regimen longevity declined in recent years contemporaneous with the availability of several new ARV drugs and combinations. Reduced durability mostly results from a preference for newly approved regimens rather than indicating failing therapy, as indicated by viral suppression observed in a majority of patients (67%) prior to regimen cessation. Durability is influenced by extrinsic factors including new drug availability and provider preference. Medication durability must be interpreted carefully in the context of a dynamic treatment landscape.
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    Author List

  • Eaton EF; Tamhane AR; Burkholder GA; Willig JH; Saag MS; Mugavero MJ
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 2