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Recreational drug use high in patients with HIV, may interfere with ART

07 Feb 2017
The many virus pandemics in the past millennium may provide clues for the current battle against HIV/AIDS.

Many patients with HIV receiving ongoing treatment frequently engage in recreational drug use, a new cross-sectional study reports. Unfortunately, these substances may interfere with clinical outcomes and may potentially interact with the antiretroviral agents.

For the observational, cross-sectional study, a total of 208 adult patients confirmed to have HIV and were currently receiving treatment were recruited. Those with language barriers, suffering from cognitive decline, enrolled in other studies and who only recently started their antiretroviral therapies were excluded.

Questionnaires were administered to collect information about sociodemographic backgrounds, adherence to antiretroviral medication, drug use for the past 12 months and high-risk sexual behaviours. Supplementary information like viral load, time on treatment, comorbidities and other medications were retrieved from clinical records.

Primary outcomes of the study were associations of recreational drug use with adherence to medication and high risk sexual behaviour.

Of all the participants, 44.2 percent or 92 participants reported to have engaged in recreational drug use over the past year. A further 48.8 percent or 44 participants used a variety of recreational drugs in this time period.

Of the different recreational drugs documented, cannabis was found to be the most common (68.5 percent). This was followed by cocaine and nitrites (45.5 and 31.5 percent, respectively). Other drugs used by the participants were sildenafil (28.3 percent) and ecstasy (19.6 percent).

Interestingly, of the 92 participants that used recreational drugs, relevant drug-antiretroviral medication interactions were observed in almost half or 46 participants.

Similarly, consumption of recreational drugs was associated with difficulties in adherence to the antiretroviral medications (odds ratio [OR], 2.51; 95 percent CI, 1.32 to 4.77; p=0.005). High-risk sexual behaviour was also associated with recreational drug use (OR, 2.81; 1.47 to 5.39; p=0.002).

The findings show that use of recreational drugs is fairly common in patients with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapies, and this may subsequently negatively impact clinical outcomes by interacting with antiretroviral medications or reducing patient adherence to treatments.

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Most Read Articles
Pearl Toh, 31 Dec 2019
Adding the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir to usual care speeds up recovery from influenza-like illness by a day compared with usual care alone, with even greater benefits seen in older, sicker patients with comorbidities, according to the ALIC4E study.
23 Dec 2019
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6 days ago
Testosterone treatment may slightly improve sexual functioning and quality of life in men without underlying organic causes of hypogonadism, but it offers little to no benefit for other common symptoms of ageing, according to a study. In addition, long-term efficacy and safety of this therapy remain unknown.
11 Jan 2020
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