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Antivir Ther. 2005;10(1):83-93.

A randomized controlled trial to enhance antiretroviral therapy adherence in patients with a history of alcohol problems.

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Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



To assess the effectiveness of an individualized multicomponent intervention to promote adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a cohort of HIV-infected individuals with a history of alcohol problems.


We conducted a randomized controlled trial to compare the usual medical follow-up with an adherence intervention.


The principal enrolment site was Boston Medical Center, a private, not-for-profit, academic medical institution.


HIV-infected patients with a history of alcohol problems on ART. A total of 151 were enrolled and 141 (93%) were assessed at follow-up.


A nurse, trained in motivational interviewing, completed the following over 3 months in four encounters: addressed alcohol problems; provided a watch with a programmable timer to facilitate pill taking; enhanced perception of treatment efficacy; and delivered individually tailored assistance to facilitate medication use.


Prior 30-day adherence > or =95%, prior 3-day adherence of 100%, CD4 cell count, HIV RNA and alcohol consumption, each at both short- and long-term follow-up.


At follow-up, no significant differences in medication adherence, CD4 cell count, HIV RNA or alcohol consumption were found (all P values >0.25).


A multicomponent intervention to enhance adherence among HIV-infected individuals with a history of alcohol problems was not associated with changes in medication adherence, alcohol consumption or markers of HIV disease progression. The failure to change adherence in a group at high risk for poor adherence, despite utilizing an intensive individual-focused patient intervention, supports the idea of addressing medication adherence with supervised medication delivery or markedly simplified dosing regimens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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