Context: Large randomized trials have previously shown that high-dose micronutrient supplementation can increase CD4 counts and reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression and mortality among individuals not receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); however, the safety and efficacy of such supplementation has not been established in the context of HAART.
Objective: To test the hypothesis that high-dose multivitamin supplementation vs standard-dose multivitamin supplementation decreases the risk of HIV disease progression or death and improves immunological, virological, and nutritional parameters in patients with HIV initiating HAART.
Design, setting, and participants: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of high-dose vs standard-dose multivitamin supplementation for 24 months in 3418 patients with HIV initiating HAART between November 2006 and November 2008 in 7 clinics in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. INTERVENTION The provision of daily oral supplements of vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and vitamin E at high levels or standard levels of the recommended dietary allowance.
Main outcome measure: The composite of HIV disease progression or death from any cause.
Results: The study was stopped early in March 2009 because of evidence of increased levels of alanine transaminase (ALT) in patients receiving the high-dose multivitamin supplement. At the time of stopping, 3418 patients were enrolled (median follow-up, 15 months), and there were 2374 HIV disease progression events and 453 observed deaths (2460 total combined events). Compared with standard-dose multivitamin supplementation, high-dose supplementation did not reduce the risk of HIV disease progression or death. The absolute risk of HIV progression or death was 72% in the high-dose group vs 72% in the standard-dose group (risk ratio [RR], 1.00; 95% CI, 0.96-1.04). High-dose supplementation had no effect on CD4 count, plasma viral load, body mass index, or hemoglobin level concentration, but increased the risk of ALT elevations (1239 events per 1215 person-years vs 879 events per 1236 person-years; RR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.11-1.87) vs standard-dose supplementation. CONCLUSION In adults receiving HAART, use of high-dose multivitamin supplements compared with standard-dose multivitamin supplements did not result in a decrease in HIV disease progression or death but may have resulted in an increase in ALT levels.
Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00383669.