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Antivir Ther. 2008;13(5):687-96.

Incidence of abacavir hypersensitivity reactions in euroSIDA.

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  • 1Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.



The aim of the study was to investigate the incidence of abacavir-related hypersensitivity reaction (HSR) and associated deaths in EuroSIDA HIV-1-infected patients.


Poisson regression models were developed to compare incidence of abacavir discontinuation according to the line of therapy within which abacavir was received, geographical regions, calendar time and drug formulation (abacavir/lamivudine combination tablet versus abacavir as a single drug or abacavir/zidovudine/lamivudine combination).


Of 3,278 patients that started abacavir, 2,101 (64.1%) discontinued. Of these, 167 (5.1%) discontinued abacavir within 3 months due to HSR with an incidence of 22.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 18.7-25.4) per 100 person-years of follow-up. After adjustment for gender, prior AIDS, hepatitis C serostatus, baseline CD4+ T-cell count, region and calendar time, HSR incidence was significantly higher in those starting abacavir in a first-line regimen compared with second-line (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 2.04 [95% CI 1.24-3.38]; P=0.005). There was no significant difference between regions. HSR incidence from 2005 onwards was significantly lower compared with 1999-2000 (IRR 0.54 [95% CI 0.32-0.92]; P=0.024). There was a lower observed incidence in patients starting abacavir/lamivudine compared with other formulations (IRR 0.33 [95% CI 0.13-0.88]; P=0.027), however, available data were limited.


Incidence of abacavir-related HSR is higher in patients starting abacavir in first-line therapy, which could indicate increased over-diagnosis. HSR incidence has decreased in recent years, which might reflect the wider availability of genetic screening and improved awareness of symptoms. There were no reported deaths due to abacavir HSR.

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