Study Analyzes Pill Burden on HIV Treatment Adherence

Study Analyzes Pill Burden on HIV Treatment Adherence
Study Analyzes Pill Burden on HIV Treatment Adherence

Taking more pills or doses per day did not lead to worse antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics has found. 

Newer ART drugs have significantly reduced morbidity and mortality associated with HIV. These agents contain new mechanisms of action, enhanced potency and activity against multi-drug resistant viruses, dosing convenience, and tolerability. But ART success is hindered by complex regimens, high pill burden, drug interactions, and short- and long-term adverse effects that decrease adherence to the prescribed regimens. 

Previous studies have demonstrated that certain factors of ART regimens may affect its adherence. A direct link between ART non-adherence and pill burden has been established. Specifically, higher adherence has been seen in once-daily regimens as compared to twice-daily or three-times-a-day regimens. 

RELATED: A Review of Cobicistat in HIV Therapy

Researchers conducted a 7-year retrospective study to examine the evolution of the number of ART pills and doses taken by patients and the influence of these factors on adherence by a group of HIV-infected patients enrolled in a pharmaceutical care program (n=264). They analyzed ART dispensing records for the number of pills and doses given and estimated the rate of ART adherence.

Data showed that in 2005, patients took a mean of 6.2 pills a day (95% CI: 5.9-6.6); 92.9% were prescribed a twice-daily dosage regimen. By 2012, patients took a mean of 4.1 pills a day (95% CI: 3.8-4.4); only 50.9% were on a twice-daily dosage regimen. Study authors found no statistically significant association between the number of daily pills and doses with ART adherence reached by patients in any of the analyses. 

Over the past 7 years, the number of ART pills and doses taken by patients have decreased. More daily pills and doses, however, was not associated with worse ART adherence in the study's pharmaceutical care program, the team concluded. 

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