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PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29977. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029977. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Renal function declines more in tenofovir- than abacavir-based antiretroviral therapy in low-body weight treatment-naïve patients with HIV infection.

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AIDS Clinical Center, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



To compare the rate of decline of renal function in tenofovir- and abacavir-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low-body weight treatment-naïve patients with HIV infection.


We conducted a single-center retrospective cohort study of 503 Japanese patients who commenced on either tenofovir- or abacavir-based initial ART.


The incidence of renal dysfunction, defined as more than 25% fall in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) from the baseline, was determined in each group. The effect of tenofovir on renal dysfunction was estimated by univariate and multivariate Cox hazards models as the primary exposure. Changes in eGFR until 96 weeks were estimated in both groups with a repeated measures mixed model.


The median body weight of the cohort was 64 kg. The estimated incidence of renal dysfunction in the tenofovir and the abacavir arm was 9.84 per 100 and 4.55 per 100 person-years, respectively. Tenofovir was significantly associated with renal dysfunction by univariate and multivariate analysis (HR = 1.747; 95% CI, 1.152-2.648; p = 0.009) (adjusted HR = 2.080; 95% CI, 1.339-3.232; p<0.001). In subgroup analysis of the patients stratified by intertertile baseline body weight, the effect of tenofovir on renal dysfunction was more evident in patients with lower baseline body weight by multivariate analysis (≤60 kg: adjusted HR = 2.771; 95%CI, 1.494-5.139; p = 0.001) (61-68 kg: adjusted HR = 1.908; 95%CI, 0.764-4.768; p = 0.167) (>68 kg: adjusted HR = 0.997; 95%CI, 0.318-3.121; p = 0.995). The fall in eGFR was significantly greater in the tenofovir arm than the abacavir arm after starting ART (p = 0.003).


The incidence of renal dysfunction in low body weight patients treated with tenofovir was twice as high as those treated with abacavir. Close monitoring of renal function is recommended for patients with small body weight especially those with baseline body weight <60 kg treated with tenofovir.

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