Adverse drug reactions to antiretroviral medication

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2009 Jan 1;14:1785-92. doi: 10.2741/3340.


Antiretroviral therapy has greatly improved prognosis of HIV infection, with a dramatic reduction of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Nevertheless, the condition is still a common cause of death in many underdeveloped countries, where effective treatment is not always unavailable. More than 20 drugs active against HIV are commercially available, which belong to one of four groups: nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, and fusion/entry inhibitors. In the near future new drugs are expected, including those of a novel group, the integrase inhibitors. To avoid viral resistance, combinations of the drugs must always be used in clinical practice. Adverse reactions are common with antiretrovirals, and they are an important cause of medication non-adherence and suboptimal control of HIV infection. In this article we review the most relevant of those toxicities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / chemically induced
  • Bone Marrow / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects
  • Drug Hypersensitivity
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Lipodystrophy / chemically induced
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Nervous System / drug effects
  • Osteonecrosis / chemically induced
  • Pancreatitis / chemically induced
  • Urinary Tract / drug effects


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Lactic Acid