HIV Positive Patients On Tenofovir At Increased Risk Of Kidney Damage
A new study led by scientists at the UCSF, performed on a batch of more than 10,000 patients, revealed that patients on antiretroviral therapy with tenofovir associate a higher risk of kidney damage and CKD (chronic kidney disease). The study also found that tenofovir use is also correlated with an increased risk of developing kidney disease in patients who lacked the most common risk factors for kidney disease, and the resulted kidney toxicity may be irreversible.
The study results call for increased screening for HIV positive patients on tenofovir who also associate other kidney disease risk factors and are at high risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
The study revealed that for each year of tenofovir use, the risk of proteinuria (excess of serum proteins in the urine) raises with approximately thirty-four percent, the risk of acute kidney failure raises with eleven percent and the risk of developing CKD raises with thirty-three percent. The risks remain unchanged also, after researchers checked for other kidney disease risk factors that include patient’s age, race, presence of other conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking.
The risk percentage of patients on tenofovir compared to patients on other antiretroviral drugs was thirteen percent compared to eight percent for proteinuria, nine percent compared to five percent for acute renal failure and two percent compared to only one percent for chronic kidney disease.
Patients were observed for about one year and two months after they dropped out of therapy with tenofovir. The risks for developing kidney disease remained elevated for a period between six and one year compared to those who have never been treated with tenofovir. This fact reveals that kidney damage is not quickly reversible. The long term prognosis for patients who developed kidney disease and stopped taking tenofovir remains unknown.
To be sure that tenofivir was the actual culprit, researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) studied the effects of eighteen other drug associations used for treating HIV positive patients on the same kidney disease markers: proteinuria, fulminant renal failure and progression to chronic kidney disease. None of these eighteen associations could be correlated with an increased risk.
Tenofovir is currently used to lower viral loat and boost immune system function in HIV positive patients. Statistically it is one of the most prescribed anti-HIV drug and the preferred first line choice due to its dosing convenience, relatively low toxicity and good potency. In pharmacies, it can be found under a wide variety of brand names as well as in different combinations with other drugs.