Cardiovascular toxicity of contemporary antiretroviral therapy

Alinda G Vos*, W D F Venter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: HIV treatment has evolved since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the 1990s. Earlier treatment strategies, and the introduction of integrase inhibitors in preferred first-line ART have fundamentally changed cardiovascular side effects due to HIV infection and ART. This review provides an update on cardiovascular toxicity of contemporary ART.

RECENT FINDINGS: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, including heart failure, is still increased in people living with HIV (PLWH). Exposure to older antiretrovirals, including stavudine and zidovudine, still impact on CVD risk through persistent changes in body fat distribution years after discontinuation. Protease inhibitors (PI) and efavirenz have associated metabolic disturbances and increased risk of CVD, although use is decreasing worldwide. Integrase inhibitors and CCR5 antagonists seem to have negligible immediate CVD toxicity. Weight gain on newer antiretrovirals including integrase inhibitors is a reason for concern.

SUMMARY: CVD risk should be monitored carefully in PLWH who were exposed to first generation ART, efavirenz or to PIs. Registries should capture ART use and CVD events to stay informed on actual clinical risk in the current era of rapid initiation on integrase inhibitor-based ART.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-291
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in HIV and AIDS
Issue number6
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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