Recent Abacavir Use Increases Risk of Type 1 and Type 2 Myocardial Infarctions Among Adults With HIV

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018 May 1;78(1):62-72. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001642.


Background: There is persistent confusion as to whether abacavir (ABC) increases the risk of myocardial infarction (MI), and whether such risk differs by type 1 (T1MI) or 2 (T2MI) MI in adults with HIV.

Methods: Incident MIs in North American Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design participants were identified from 2001 to 2013. Discrete time marginal structural models addressed channeling biases and time-dependent confounding to estimate crude hazard ratio (HR) and adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) and 95% confidence intervals; analyses were performed for T1MI and T2MI separately. A sensitivity analysis evaluated whether Framingham risk score (FRS) modified the effect of ABC on MI occurrence.

Results: Eight thousand two hundred sixty-five adults who initiated antiretroviral therapy contributed 29,077 person-years and 123 MI events (65 T1MI and 58 T2MI). Median follow-up time was 2.9 (interquartile range 1.4-5.1) years. ABC initiators were more likely to have a history of injection drug use, hepatitis C virus infection, hypertension, diabetes, impaired kidney function, hyperlipidemia, low (<200 cells/mm) CD4 counts, and a history of AIDS. The risk of the combined MI outcome was greater for persons who used ABC in the previous 6 months [aHR = 1.84 (1.17-2.91)]; and persisted for T1MI (aHR = 1.62 [1.01]) and T2MI [aHR = 2.11 (1.08-4.29)]. FRS did not modify the effect of ABC on MI (P = 0.14) and inclusion of FRS in the MSM did not diminish the effect of recent ABC use on the combined outcome.

Conclusions: Recent ABC use was associated with MI after adjustment for known risk factors and for FRS. However, screening for T1MI risks may not identify all or even most persons at risk of ABC use-associated MIs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dideoxynucleosides / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology*
  • North America
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Dideoxynucleosides
  • abacavir

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