Lack of association between stavudine exposure and lipoatrophy, dysglycaemia, hyperlactataemia and hypertriglyceridaemia: a prospective cross sectional study

BACKGROUND: Stavudine continues to be widely used in resource poor settings despite its toxicity. Our objective was to determine association between plasma stavudine concentrations and lipoatrophy, concentrations of glucose, lactate and triglycerides. METHODS: Participants were enrolled in a cross-sectional study with lipoatrophy assessment, oral glucose tolerance test, fasting triglycerides, finger prick lactate, and stavudine concentrations. Individual predictions of the area under the concentration curve (AUC) were obtained using a population pharmacokinetic approach. Logistic regression models were fitted to assess the association between stavudine geometric mean ratio > 1 and impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperlactataemia, hypertriglyceridaemia, and lipoatrophy. RESULTS: There were 47 study participants with a median age of 34 years and 83% were women. The median body mass index and waist:hip ratio was 24.5 kg/m2 and 0.85 respectively. The median duration on stavudine treatment was 14.5 months. The prevalence of lipoatrophy, impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperlactataemia, and hypertriglyceridaemia were 34%, 19%, 4%, 32%, and 23% respectively. Estimated median (interquartile range) stavudine AUC was 2191 (1957 to 2712) ng*h/mL. Twenty two participants had stavudine geometric mean ratio >1. Univariate logistic regression analysis showed no association between stavudine geometric mean ratio >1 and impaired fasting glucose (odds ratio (OR) 2.00, 95% CI 0.44 to 9.19), impaired glucose tolerance (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.07 to 19.42), hyperlactataemia (OR 2.19, 95%CI 0.63 to 7.66), hypertriglyceridaemia (OR 1.75, 95%CI 0.44 to 7.04), and lipoatrophy (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.25 to 2.79). CONCLUSIONS: There was a high prevalence of metabolic complications of stavudine, but these were not associated with plasma stavudine concentrations. Until there is universal access to safer antiretroviral drugs, there is a need for further studies examining the pathogenesis of stavudine-associated toxicities.