Sensory neuropathy and metabolic risk factors in human immune deficiency virus infected South Africans receiving protease inhibitors

Journal Article


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title

AIDS Research and Therapy

Journal ISSN
Volume Title
BackgroundProtease inhibitors (PI)s have been associated with distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSP) and metabolic complications in high-income countries. No data exist in Africans where second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) often include PIs.MethodWe performed a cross-sectional study to assess the DSP frequency and metabolic risk factors in community-based South Africans taking ritonavir-boosted lopinavir as PI. Examination findings categorized subjects as having DSP (≥1 neuropathic sign) or symptomatic DSP [DSP with symptom(s)]. Fasting-state glucose and lipid profiles were assessed. We compared the ritonavir/lopinavir-group to a nested group on first-line ART [dideoxy-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (d-drugs)] selected from a dataset collected at the same time and matched for d-drug exposure.ResultsThe ritonavir/lopinavir-group (n=86) consisted predominantly of women (84%) with a median age of 36years (IQR 32–41). The median current CD4+ count was 489cells/μL (IQR 291–665). The median exposure time to ritonavir/lopinavir was 18months (IQR 10–26) and to d-drugs, 24months (IQR 16–38). DSP was present in 78% and symptomatic DSP in 48%; symptoms were most frequently of moderate intensity. Only age independently associated with DSP and symptomatic DSP (p=0.08 and p=0.04, respectively). None of the metabolic syndrome components showed associations with DSP or symptomatic DSP despite a trend towards hypertriglyceridemia overall. The ritonavir/lopinavir-group had less DSP compared to the d-drug only group (p=0.002) but the frequency of symptomatic DSP was similar (p=0.49).ConclusionRitonavir-boosted lopinavir did not add additional risk to developing DSP in this community-based African cohort after a median of 18months on second-line ART.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12981-015-0073-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.