Treatment-limiting renal tubulopathy in patients treated with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate

J Infect. 2017 May;74(5):492-500. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2017.01.010. Epub 2017 Jan 25.


Objectives: Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) is widely used in the treatment or prevention of HIV and hepatitis B infection. TDF may cause renal tubulopathy in a small proportion of recipients. We aimed to study the risk factors for developing severe renal tubulopathy.

Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study with retrospective identification of cases of treatment-limiting tubulopathy during TDF exposure. We used multivariate Poisson regression analysis to identify risk factors for tubulopathy, and mixed effects models to analyse adjusted estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) slopes.

Results: Between October 2002 and June 2013, 60 (0.4%) of 15,983 patients who had received TDF developed tubulopathy after a median exposure of 44.1 (IQR 20.4, 64.4) months. Tubulopathy cases were predominantly male (92%), of white ethnicity (93%), and exposed to antiretroviral regimens that contained boosted protease inhibitors (PI, 90%). In multivariate analysis, age, ethnicity, CD4 cell count and use of didanosine or PI were significantly associated with tubulopathy. Tubulopathy cases experienced significantly greater eGFR decline while receiving TDF than the comparator group (-6.60 [-7.70, -5.50] vs. -0.34 [-0.43, -0.26] mL/min/1.73 m2/year, p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Older age, white ethnicity, immunodeficiency and co-administration of ddI and PI were risk factors for tubulopathy in patients who received TDF-containing antiretroviral therapy. The presence of rapid eGFR decline identified TDF recipients at increased risk of tubulopathy.

Keywords: Antiretroviral; Fanconi; HIV; Kidney; Renal; TDF; Tenofovir; Toxicity; Tubulopathy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / drug effects
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases* / complications
  • Kidney Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tenofovir / adverse effects*
  • Tenofovir / therapeutic use


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Tenofovir