Common Adverse Effects And Health Care Costs In HIV Patients On Antiretroviral Therapies

Washington, DC, USA – Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system. More than one million people in the United States are affected by HIV. There is currently no cure for HIV; however, antiretroviral therapies such as atazanavir and darunavir can reduce HIV-associated morbidity and mortality.

A study, “Comparative Incidence and Health Care Costs of Medically Attended Adverse Effects among U.S. Medicaid HIV Patients on Atazanavir- or Darunavir-Based Antiretroviral Therapy,” published in Value in Health, found that Medicaid-insured HIV patients treated with the antiretroviral therapy, atazanavir, had lower total health care costs than comparable patients treated with darunavir. Gastrointestinal adverse effects were less common and jaundice more common in patients treated with atazanavir than in patients treated with darunavir.

Researchers from Truven Health Analytics (Washington, DC) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (Plainsboro, NJ) found that, compared with HIV patients treated with atazanavir, similar patients treated with darunavir had higher monthly health care costs. Darunavir patients also had a higher incidence of medically-attended gastrointestinal adverse effects. In both groups, medically-attended jaundice was rare.

Stephen S. Johnston, MA, Research Leader at Truven Health Analytics and first author of the study comments, “These ‘real-world’ results should be of interest to health care providers and payers concerned with HIV costs and quality of care. They will also serve to complement the findings of ACTG 5257, which is an ongoing randomized trial comparing atazanavir to darunavir and another antiretroviral therapy, raltegravir.”


Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision makers, and researchers worldwide).

International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.

For more information: www.ispor.org

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