Background Highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) is associated with improved health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS. Successful long-term treatment of HIV/AIDS requires near-perfect adherence to HAART. Constant monitoring of adherence to HAART and evaluation of related adverse events are two essential aspects for optimal management of patients with HIV.
Purpose To monitor adherence to antiretroviral treatment and adverse events of the outpatients of an HIV referral centre (department of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Policlinico S.Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna).
Materials and Methods The pharmacist was introduced in the department of Clinical Infectious Diseases in order to distribute the antiretroviral drugs and give information on the proper storage, use and possible interactions associated with the treatment. The pharmacist gives out an adherence questionnaire (10 questions about adherence, co-administered drugs and adverse events) to each patient to complete and return during the following visit. This information was entered into a database (Access) and the adherence to treatment and incidence of adverse events was calculated.
Results We analysed the adherence questionnaires of 659 patients, 74% of whom reported 100% adherence to treatment. Co-administered medicines may lead to poorer HAART adherence: patients taking polypharmacy showed medium-low adherence to treatment. Adherence was found to correlate inversely with the daily pill burden.
In terms of adverse effects, we developed a pharmacovigilance system, reporting 15 adverse drug reactions, 27% of which were rated severe. We analysed physical changes, gastrointestinal disorders and neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the following regimens: efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir, emtricitabine/tenofovir + atazanavir/ritonavir, efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir, emtricitabine/tenofovir + atazanavir/ritonavir, emtricitabine/tenofovir + darunavir/ritonavir, abacavir/lamivudine + emtricitabine/tenofovir + darunavir/ritonavir, abacavir/lamivudine + atazanavir/ritonavir, abacavir/lamivudine + darunavir/ritonavir. Our results showed that the regimens with darunavir correlated with a lower incidence of side effects and perception of physical changes.
Conclusions The physician-pharmacist collaboration is an important support in monitoring adherence and adverse events related to HAART and contributes significantly to the optimal management of patients with HIV infection.
No conflict of interest.
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