Advertisement covers IDWeek 2014


Long-Term Tenofovir Use Associated With Higher Rates of Kidney Problems

November 14, 2014

Renal dysfunction was more likely in patients who had taken tenofovir (Truvada, TDF) longer, were older, or also had diabetes or hypertension, according to a study presented at IDWeek 2014.

The study, a retrospective chart review presented by Jasmine Riviere Marcelin, M.D., investigated different methods for assessing kidney function in patients on tenofovir and found that serum creatinine was still the best way to monitor that population for potential kidney problems.

Study authors reviewed the charts of 177 HIV-positive adults on tenofovir-containing antiretroviral therapy who were treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., between 2010 and 2013. There was no non-tenofovir control group because the majority of clinic patients' antiretroviral therapy regimens contained that drug. The study population did not include patients who had chronic kidney disease or proteinuria (excessive protein in urine) before starting tenofovir, nor those who also took other medications that could impair kidney function.

Study participants were between 33 and 57 years old (mean age 45), mostly male (81%), and mainly white. African Americans, who are at greater risk of kidney disease, constituted 19% of the study population. Participants had been taking tenofovir for a median of 3.3 years. Eleven people (9%) also had diabetes mellitus and 28 (24%) had hypertension. Other conditions included hyperlipidemia (39 participants, 33%), hepatitis C infection (16, 14%) and hepatitis B infection (14, 12%). Mean viral load at study start was 62 copies/mL, although 47 participants (40%) had a viral load above 1000 copies/mL.

Three renal function indicators were evaluated:

  • eGFR, or estimated glomerular filtration rate
  • urine protein-osmolality ratio (P:O ratio)
  • predicted 24-hr proteinuria

An increased risk of abnormal eGFR was not associated with an abnormal P:O ratio or abnormal predicted 24-hour proteinuria (P = .334 and .213, respectively), leading study authors to conclude that, "serum creatinine remains the gold standard for monitoring of renal function while on tenofovir."

The age-adjusted risk of an abnormal P:O ratio was almost four times greater in patients who had taken tenofovir for more than 5 years compared to those who had taken it for less than 1 year (P = .024).

Other risk factors for abnormal kidney function included:

  • Greater age: Those 54 years old had double the risk of abnormal eGFR readings (defined as < 60ml/min/1.73m2) compared to those 10 years younger (P = .048). Abnormal P:O ratios (P = .048) and abnormal 24-hr proteinuria (P = .01) were also more likely in older patients.
  • Being diabetic: All 11 patients with that condition had abnormal P:O ratios.
  • Having hypertension: Patients with hypertension were almost four times as likely to have an abnormal eGFR than those without that condition (P =.026).

Therefore, the study authors advise clinicians to, "use caution when prescribing TDF in older patients or patients with hypertension or diabetes."

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.

Copyright © 2014 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by TheBodyPRO. It is a part of the publication IDWeek 2014.


Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.