An investigation of metabolic side effects of antiretroviral therapy using laboratory biomarkers in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals
Ndlovu, Thandie Sylph
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Antiretroviral therapy (ART) was introduced because it has shown to reverse the Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), by reducing the HIV replication, allowing the regeneration of the patient’s immune system. ART is given to patients for the rest of their lives as part of HIV clinical care, but the use of ART has shown evidence of metabolic side effects which range from manageable to life threatening complications. Aims and objectives of the study The aim of the study was to investigate whether patients on ART developed metabolic side effects such as pancreatitis, dyslipidaemia and hepatotoxicity. These metabolic side effects were determined by laboratory testing of blood levels of specific biomarkers at stipulated intervals. Any significant change in the blood levels of these specific biomarkers was identified. Methodology : The study included 92 patients who were already selected for the ART programme which is in accordance to the South African National Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines of 2003 Laboratory blood analysis was conducted. The repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare changes in biomarkers over time. The severity of each side effect was assessed by grading each biomarker laboratory result through the use of an established toxicity grading table. Results : It was found that the biomarker blood levels were not significantly altered within 12 months of ART, however, there was a gradual increase of most biomarker values, indicating that abnormalities may be detected after a longer period of treatment. Conclusion : Within 12 months of treatment, life-threatening toxicities were not detected. It may be speculated that if ART is monitored correctly, life-threatening toxicities may be avoided in many patients.