Assessing the Efficacy of Second-Line Antiretroviral Treatment for HIV Patients Failing First-Line Antiretroviral Therapy in Iran: A Cohort Study
There are limited documents about HIV patients switched to second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-limited countries. We aimed to assess the efficacy of second-line ART for HIV patients following first-line ART failure. This was a cohort study of HIV/AIDS patients with first-line ART treatment failure switched to second-line ART between January 2004 and March 2014, who followed for at least 12 months after switching. Fifty of studied patients (85%) were treated with regimens containing lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and nine of them (15%) treated with other regimes. Seven patients were experienced opportunistic infections in accordance with stage III and IV WHO classification. In this way, 11.8% of patients had aclinicalfailure, and 37 of them (62%) had immunological responses. Weight gain was evident in these patients, and there was a significant correlation between theincrease in CD4 and weight gain (P=0.007). Only 13 patients achieved HIV viral load testing that 6 of them had avirological response after 12 months on second-line ART. No significant associations were found between virological or immunological response and gender, age, and lopinavir/ritonavir regimens (P>0.05).With counselling and supporting in those failing first-line ART, inessential switching to more costly second-line ART can be prevented in the majority of patients. However, patients' need to second-line ART drugs has increased, for which national ART programmes and regular follow-up should be organized. The high cost of these drugs and limited access to viral load testing are main barriers to proper management of patients switched to second-line ART regimens.
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