Purpose: To evaluate the impact of selenium chemoprevention (200 microg/day) on hospitalizations in HIV-positive individuals.
Method: Data were obtained from 186 HIV+ men and women participating in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled selenium clinical trial (1998-2000). Supplements were dispensed monthly, and clinical evaluations were conducted every 6 months. Inpatient hospitalizations, hospitalization costs, and rates of hospitalization were determined 2 years before and during the trial.
Results: At enrollment, no significant differences in CD4 cell counts or viral burden were observed between the two study arms. Fewer placebo-treated participants were using antiretrovirals (p <.05). The total number of hospitalizations declined from 157 before the trial to 103 during the 2 year study. A marked decrease in total admission rates (RR = 0.38; p =.002) and percent of hospitalizations due to infection/100 patients for those receiving selenium was observed (p =.01). As a result, the cost for hospitalization decreased 58% in the selenium group, compared to a 30% decrease in the placebo group (p =.001). In the final analyses, selenium therapy continued to be a significant independent factor associated with lower risk of hospitalization (p =.001).
Conclusion: Selenium supplementation appears to be a beneficial adjuvant treatment to decrease hospitalizations as well as the cost of caring for HIV-1-infected patients.