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A retrospective study on side effects of first-line antiretroviral drugs on HIV patients based on 1A, 2A, and 5A regimen records at Zomba Central Hospital, Malawi

Ruth Sindie
Elias Mwakilama
Pachalo Chizala
Jimmy Namangale


AIDS is an incurable disease that is common in Africa. Patients with HIV/AIDS having a CD4 count of less than 240 are put on life prolonging ARV drugs. The ARVs have serious side effects on some patients which may be handled by treating them or switching patient’s drug to one with no or less serious side effects. However, before doing this, more understanding of the circumstances that lead to a side effect is vital. We use statistical analyses to link side effects of 1A, 2A, and 5A treatment regimens to the patient’s social and demographic characteristics based on hospital data records. A retrospective review of patients’ master cards (2011-2014) was done to assess adverse effects associated with different ARV regimens. Out of the 901 patients that showed side effects, 65.37% were females aged 31-40 and 34.63% were males. Comparatively, 1A regimen showed more side effects than 2A and 5A regimens. Age, gender and occupation correlated significantly with regimen symptoms (p< 0.05). Unlike men, women had the following extra side effects; cough, peripheral neuropathy and leg pains as compared to lipodystrophy. Our results show that old people (50years+) are less likely to get skin rash and other symptoms compared to lipodystrophy (RRR=0.973). Further, the probability of either having cough (0.0021, p< 0.05), or skin rash (0.0021, p< 0.05), as a side effect, on average, decreases as age increases with the same sex and weight. The probability of having peripheral neuropathy (0.0042, p< 0.01), however, increases with age. Knowledge of HIV patient’s socio-demographics and the patient’s regimen side effects can be utilised to appropriately manage severe ARV side effects. A therapy consideration that takes into account chemicals in ARV regimen responsible for specific side effects can be directed to patients with compatible socio-demographic characteristics.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; ARV regimens; symptoms; side effects; socio-demographics; multinomial logistic regression.

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eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905