HIV, drugs and the kidney

Nicola Wearne MBChB, FCP, MMed, Bianca Davidson MBChB, FCP, MMed, Marc Blockman MBChB, BPharm, PG Dip Int Res Ethics, MMed, Annoesjka Swart BScPharm, Erika SW Jones MBBCh, FCP, PhD


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects over 36 million people worldwide. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is expanding and improving HIV viral suppression, resulting in increasing exposure to drugs and drug interactions. Polypharmacy is a common complication as people are living longer on ART, increasing the risk of drug toxicities. Polypharmacy is related not only to ART exposure and medication for opportunistic infections, but also to treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is frequent in HIV and is commonly the result of sepsis, dehydration and drug toxicities. Furthermore, HIV itself increases the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Drug treatment is often complicated in people living with HIV because of a greater incidence of AKI and/or CKD compared to the HIV-negative population. Impaired renal function affects drug interactions, drug toxicities and importantly drug dosing, requiring dose adjustment. This review discusses ART and its nephrotoxic effects, including drug–drug interactions. It aims to guide the clinician on dose adjustment in the setting of renal impairment and dialysis, for the commonly used drugs in patients with HIV.

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Accepted: ; Published: .


Wearne N, Davidson B, Blockman M, Swart A, Jones ESW. HIV, drugs and the kidney. Drugs in Context 2020; 9: 2019-11-1. DOI: 10.7573/dic.2019-11-1

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