In India, interruptions to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) are due to adverse drug reactions. This study was aimed to assess the association between HAART adherence and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients. This prospective study was conducted at a Medicine department in a South Indian tertiary care teaching hospital. HIV-positive patients were interviewed for adherence using ACTG adherence questionnaire and intensively monitored for ADRs to HAART. The percentage of adherence was calculated based on missed doses, and graded as less than 80%, 80-95%, and >95%. The World Health Organization (WHO) probability scale was used for causality assessment. Logistic regression analysis as well as univariate analysis was used to assess the association (P value < 0.05). A total of 105 HIV-positive patients had been taking HAART out of whom 50 (47.6%) patients agreed for adherence assessment, and 23 (21.9%) refused due to social stigma. Upon evaluation of the patient characteristics in the reported adherence, 78% were in males (53.8%) and 22% were in females (46.2%) with the level of adherence greater than 95%. Six (12%) patients had a regular alcoholic intake with adherence less than 80% compared to 31 (62%) patients who never had any alcoholic intake (P < 0.05). A significant association between ADRs and adherence was found (P < 0.05). Causality found by the WHO scale was "probable." Clinicians must focus on education regarding the need for adherence, possible adverse effects, and early detection and prevention of ADRs to HAART.
Key words: Adverse drug reaction, highly active antiretroviral therapy, human immunodeficiency virus, medication adherence