Background: Clinical management of dyslipidemia is challenging, particularly hypertriglyceridemia in patients with HIV-infection. Changing combined anti-retroviral therapy (CART) and the use of lipid-lowering drugs have proven useful in treating dyslipidemia in HIV infected patients
Objective: To assess the efficacy of lipid lowering drugs (LLDs) and/or CART switching, in the management of HIV-associated dyslipidemia
Design: A retrospective, longitudinal cohort study
Setting: Phidisa HIV research project, 6 sites in South Africa, period April 2008 and April 2011
Patients: HIV positive South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members and their dependents; who are on CART and are 18 years or older. Four hundred and forty eight participants with dyslipidemia had non-fasted, total serum cholesterol ≥ 8.0mmol/l, serum triglyceride levels ≥4.52 mmol/l and naïve to lipid lowering drugs at baseline.
Measurements: Mean change over time of total serum cholesterol and serum triglyceride in the following treatment strategies were used: exercise and dietary advice, lipid-lowering drugs (statins or fibrates or both), CART switches separately and combined lipid lowering drug with ART switch was measured using panel data with first–order autoregressive-response and xtabond.
Results: The mean age for a total of 448 participants was 39.9 years; males were 87%, females were only 13%. The participants contributed to 1861 follow-up visits. CD4 count was normally distributed with the baseline mean value of 402 cells/mm3 (18.5%). Mean change over time for total serum cholesterol and triglycerides increased by 0.099 mmol/l (p=0.007) and 0.248 mmol/l (p=0.018) respectively, with an increase in body mass index while an increase in CD4 cell percent decreased mean over time for total serum cholesterol by 0.045 mmol/l (p=0.002). Our hypothesis was confirmed when lipid lowering drugs and ART switch combined treatment strategy even more decrease in the mean total serum cholesterol and triglycerides levels over time by 0.754 mmol/l (p<0.001) and 2.073 mmol/l (p<0.001) respectively compared to the exercise and dietary advice treatment strategy. Our findings showed that combined treatment strategy maintained a decrease in both the mean total serum cholesterol and triglycerides levels over time of 0.283 mmol/l (p=0.038) and 0.941 mmol/l (p=0.016) respectively, when compared to lipid lowering drugs; the mean serum triglycerides over time were also reduced by 0.486 mmol/l (p=0.048) when the combined treatment strategy was compared to CART switch only. Furthermore combined treatment strategy of lipid lowering drugs with ART switch showed significant virological suppression by decreasing log of viral load, 0.486 (p<0.001) when compared to the exercise and dietary advice group. Conclusions: Combining lipid lowering drugs and ART switching as a treatment strategy in the management of HIV-associated dyslipidemia is effective in lowering the mean over time of both total serum cholesterol and triglycerides when compared to exercise and dietary advice strategy, while maintaining virological suppression.