Risk of Acute Liver Injury With Antiretroviral Therapy by Viral Hepatitis Status

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017 Jan 28;4(2):ofx012. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofx012. eCollection 2017 Spring.


Background: The risk of hepatotoxicity with antiretroviral therapy (ART) remains unknown. We determined the comparative risk of acute liver injury (ALI) for antiretroviral drugs, classes, and regimens, by viral hepatitis status.

Methods: We followed a cohort of 10 083 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons in Kaiser Permanente Northern California (n = 2099) from 2004 to 2010 and the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (n = 7984) from 2004 to 2012. Within the first year of ART, we determined occurrence of (1) liver aminotransferases >200 U/L and (2) severe ALI (coagulopathy with hyperbilirubinemia). We used Cox regression to determine hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of endpoints among initiators of nucleos(t)ide analogue combinations, antiretroviral classes, and ART regimens, all stratified by viral hepatitis status.

Results: Liver aminotransferases >200 U/L developed in 206 (2%) persons and occurred more frequently among HIV/viral hepatitis-coinfected than HIV-monoinfected persons (116.1 vs 20.7 events/1000 person-years; P < .001). No evidence of differential risk was found between initiators of abacavir/lamivudine versus tenofovir/emtricitabine among coinfected (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, .29-1.57) or HIV-monoinfected (HR, 1.19; 95% CI, .47-2.97) groups. Coinfected patients had a higher risk of aminotransferases >200 U/L after initiation with a protease inhibitor than nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (HR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.36-2.96). Severe ALI (30 events; 0.3%) occurred more frequently in coinfected persons (15.9 vs 3.1 events/1000 person-years; P < .001) but was too uncommon to evaluate in adjusted analyses.

Conclusions: Within the year after ART initiation, aminotransferase elevations were infrequently observed and rarely led to severe ALI. Protease inhibitor use was associated with a higher risk of aminotransferase elevations among viral hepatitis-coinfected patients.

Keywords: HIV.; antiretroviral; drug-induced liver injury; hepatotoxicity.