Evan Wood, PhD; Robert S. Hogg, PhD; Benita Yip, BSc (Pharm); P. Richard Harrigan, PhD; Michael V. O'Shaughnessy, PhD; Julio S.G. Montaner, MD, FRCPC
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Bonnie Devlin, Elizabeth Ferris, Nada Gataric, Kelly Hsu, Myrna Reginaldo, Chandra Lips, and Peter Vann for their research and administrative assistance and Kathy Li, Kevin Craib, and Martin Schechter for their advice on the statistical methods.
Grant Support: Evan Wood is supported by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Robert Hogg is supported by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research through a Career Investigator Award and by Canadian Institutes of Health Research through an Investigator Award.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest:Honoraria: R.S. Hogg (AIDS Research Program, St. Paul's Hospital); Grants received: J.S.G. Montaner (Abbott Laboratories, Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Shire Biochem, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Belgium International GmbH, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont Pharma, Gilead Sciences, Glaxo Wellcome, Hoffman-LaRoche, Kucera Pharmaceutical Co., Merck Frosst Laboratories, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Trimeris); Patents received: J.S.G. Montaner (PCT/EP 02/.05151: Co-inventor, along with Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, of Use of nevirapine to treat or prevent lipid abnormalities in patients with HIV that is resistant to nevirapine); Patents pending: J.S.G. Montaner (PCT/CA02/00796: Pharmacological applications of mitochondrial DNA assays, filed 29 May 2002; U.S. patent application for Pharmacological applications of mitochondrial DNA analysis, filed 29 May 2002; U.S. provincial application for Sepsis).
Requests for Single Reprints: Julio S.G. Montaner, MD, FRCPC, AIDS Research Program, University of British Columbia/St. Paul's Hospital, 667-1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 1Y6, Canada; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Wood, Hogg, Harrigan, O'Shaughnessy, and Montaner and Ms. Yip: University of British Columbia/St. Paul's Hospital, 667-1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 1Y6, Canada.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: E. Wood, R.S. Hogg, B. Yip, J.S.G. Montaner.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: E. Wood, R.S. Hogg, B. Yip, J.S.G. Montaner.
Drafting of the article: E. Wood, R.S. Hogg, B. Yip, P.H. Harrigan, J.S.G. Montaner.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: E. Wood, R.S. Hogg, B. Yip, P.H. Harrigan, M.V. O'Shaughnessy, J.S.G. Montaner.
Final approval of the article: E. Wood, R.S. Hogg, M.V. O'Shaughnessy, J.S.G. Montaner.
Statistical expertise: E. Wood, M.V. O'Shaughnessy.
Obtaining of funding: R.S. Hogg, M.V. O'Shaughnessy, J.S.G. Montaner.
Administrative, technical, or logistic support: E. Wood, R.S. Hogg, B. Yip, P.H. Harrigan, M.V. O'Shaughnessy, J.S.G. Montaner.
Collection and assembly of data: B. Yip.
The safety of delaying highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-infected patients is uncertain when the CD4+ cell count declines below 0.350 × 109 cells/L.
To evaluate the effect of baseline CD4+ cell count and adherence to HAART on survival rates.
Prospective observational study.
Province-wide Canadian HIV/AIDS treatment program.
1422 HIV-infected persons initiating HAART between 1 August 1996 and 31 July 2000 and followed through 31 March 2002.
Patients were stratified by baseline CD4+ cell count and adherence level. Cumulative mortality rates were evaluated by using Kaplan–Meier methods and Cox regressionestimated adjusted relative hazards.
Kaplan–Meier analyses showed no survival benefit of starting HAART at a CD4+ count of 0.200 × 109 cells/L or greater among adherent patients. Adjusted analysis showed that compared with adherent patients who initiated HAART at a CD4+ cell count of 0.350 × 109 cells/L or greater, nonadherent patients who initiated HAART when the CD4+ cell count was 0.200 to 0.349× 109 cells/L had statistically elevated mortality rates (adjusted relative hazard, 2.56 [95% CI, 1.36 to 4.84]; P = 0.004). However, compared with adherent patients who initiated HAART at a CD4+ cell count of 0.350 × 109 cells/L or greater, adherent patients who initiated HAART when the CD4+ cell count was 0.200 to 0.349× 109 cells/L had statistically similar mortality rates (adjusted relative hazard, 0.82 [CI, 0.45 to 1.49]; P > 0.2).
Delaying HAART until the CD4+ cell count falls to 0.200 × 109 cells/L does not increase the mortality rate in HIV-infected patients with good medication adherence. Mortality rates increase if HAART is initiated below 0.200 × 109 cells/L. Also, nonadherent patients have higher mortality rates than adherent patients with similar CD4+ cell counts. Above a CD4+ cell count of 0.200 × 109 cells/L, medication adherence is the critical determinant of survival, not the CD4+ cell count at which HAART is begun.
Evan Wood, Robert S. Hogg, Benita Yip, P. Richard Harrigan, Michael V. O'Shaughnessy, Julio S.G. Montaner. Effect of Medication Adherence on Survival of HIV-Infected Adults Who Start Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy When the CD4+ Cell Count Is 0.200 to 0.350 × 109 cells/L. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:810–816. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-10-200311180-00008
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(10):810-816.
HIV, Infectious Disease.
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