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J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011 Jan;3(1):142-53. doi: 10.4103/0975-7406.76494.

Highly active antiretroviral therapy: Does it Sound toxic?

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1
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The main objective of the current study is to monitor the auditory status in a group of adults with AIDS, receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) (3TC -lamivudine, D4T - stavudine, and efavirenz) in a hospital outpatient clinic in Gauteng. A total sample of 54 adults (between the ages of 18 and 50 years) in the experimental group and 16 in the control group were assessed prospectively following a repeated measures design. All participants were assessed at baseline at three months, and at six months into the treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The participants underwent case history interviews and medical record reviews, otoscopy, and tympanometry, as well as conventional pure tone audiometry and distortion product otoacoustic emission testing. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data.

RESULTS:

On audiological monitoring, statistically significant changes (P<0.05) were established, only in the experimental group, for pure tone audiometry - with clinically significant changes found at high frequencies. Statistically significant changes with clinically significant changes were obtained for distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) in the experimental group, particularly at high frequencies - implying subclinical hearing function changes; while lack of statistically significant changes with no clinically significant changes were found in the control group. The subclinical hearing changes in the experimental group were also evident in the findings of the subclinical hearing loss group, who, although they had normal pure tone function after six months of follow up, presented with clinical changes on DPOAEs at 6 and 8 kHz.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings highlight the need for closer monitoring of the effects of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) on hearing, through the use of more sensitive tools of assessment when conducting drug trials.

KEYWORDS:

Adults; HAART; HIV / AIDS; monitoring; ototoxicity

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