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Apples to Apples? A Comparison of Real-World Tolerability of Antiretrovirals in Patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Patients with Primary Biliary Cholangitis
Viruses. 2022 Mar 3;14(3):516. doi: 10.3390/v14030516.
Shannon L Turvey1, Lynora Saxinger1, Andrew L Mason2
Division of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada.
Division of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada.
We previously characterized a human betaretrovirus and linked infection with the development of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). There are in vitro and in vivo data demonstrating that antiretroviral therapy used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be repurposed to treat betaretroviruses. As such, PBC patients have been treated with nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), alone and in combination with a boosted protease inhibitor or an integrase strand transfer inhibitor in case studies and clinical trials. However, a randomized controlled trial using combination antiretroviral therapy with lopinavir was terminated early because 70% of PBC patients discontinued therapy because of gastrointestinal side effects. In the open-label extension, patients tolerating combination therapy underwent a significant reduction in serum liver parameters, whereas those on NRTIs alone rebounded to baseline. Herein, we compare clinical experience in the experimental use of antiretroviral agents in patients with PBC with the broader experience of using these agents in people living with HIV infection. While the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects in the PBC population appears somewhat increased compared to those with HIV infection, the clinical improvement observed in patients with PBC suggests that further studies using the newer and better tolerated antiretroviral agents are warranted.