Similar adherence rates favor different virologic outcomes for patients treated with nonnucleoside analogues or protease inhibitors

Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 1;40(1):158-63. doi: 10.1086/426595. Epub 2004 Dec 6.


Background: This prospective study verified the effect of adherence on the risk of virologic failure.

Methods: At enrollment in the study, a total of 543 patients who were following a steady (duration, >or=6 months) and effective (viral load, <50 human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] RNA copies/mL) regimen of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) completed a self-reported questionnaire derived from the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group Adherence Follow-up Questionnaire. Patients were followed up for the subsequent 6 months to document virologic failure, which was defined as 2 consecutive viral load measurements of >500 HIV RNA copies/mL.

Results: Only the type of treatment and the adherence rate at baseline were significantly associated with the virologic end point. Among patients who reported an adherence rate of <or=75%, the rate of virologic failure was 17.4%; this rate decreased to 12.2% for patients whose adherence rate was 76%-85%, to 4.3% for patients whose adherence rate was 86%-95%, and to 2.4% for patients whose adherence rate was >95%. When analysis was adjusted according to the type of regimen received, patients who were receiving protease inhibitor (PI)-based HAART and who had an adherence rate of up to 85% had a virologic failure rate of >20%, whereas, only for patients who were receiving nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based HAART and who had an adherence rate of <or=75%, the virologic failure rate was >10%. For the comparison of NNRTI-treated patients and PI-treated patients with an adherence rate of 75%-95%, the odds ratio was 0.157 (95% confidence interval, 0.029-0.852). The number of pills and daily doses received correlated with the reported adherence rate.

Conclusions: Patients receiving NNRTIs report a higher rate of adherence than do patients receiving PIs. Adherence is significantly influenced by the number of pills and daily doses received. Low adherence is a major determinant of virologic failure; however, different therapies have different cutoff values for adherence that determine a significant increment of risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Drug Administration Schedule*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors