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Lancet. 1999 Apr 17;353(9161):1293-8.

Discontinuation of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia prophylaxis after start of highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1 infection. EuroSIDA Study Group.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and AIDS and the National AIDS Therapy Evaluation Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved rates of CD4-lymphocyte recovery and decreased the incidence of HIV-1-related morbidity and mortality. We assessed whether prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) can be safely discontinued after HAART is started.


We investigated 7333 HIV-1-infected patients already enrolled in EuroSIDA, a continuing prospective observational cohort study in 52 centres across Europe and Israel. We did a person-years analysis of the rate of discontinuation of PCP prophylaxis and of the incidence of PCP after the introduction of HAART into clinical practice from July, 1996.


The rate of discontinuation of primary and secondary PCP prophylaxis increased up to 21.9 discontinuations per 100 person-years of follow-up after March, 1998. 378 patients discontinued primary (319) or secondary (59) prophylaxis a median of 10 months after starting HAART. At discontinuation for primary and secondary prophylaxis, respectively, the median CD4-lymphocyte counts were 274 cells/microL and 270 cells/microL, the median plasma HIV-1 RNA load 500 copies/mL, and the median lowest recorded CD4-lymphocyte counts 123 cells/microL and 60 cells/microL. During 247 person-years of follow-up, no patient developed PCP (incidence density 0 [95% CI 0-1.5]).


The risk of PCP after stopping primary prophylaxis, especially in patients on HAART with a rise in CD4-lymphocyte count to more than 200 cells/microL, is sufficiently low to warrant discontinuation of primary PCP prophylaxis. Longer follow-up is needed to confirm a similarly low risk for stopping secondary PCP prophylaxis.

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