Hepatotoxicity and antiretroviral therapy with protease inhibitors: A review

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Highly active antiretroviral therapy including protease inhibitors has led to dramatic decrease in the morbidity and mortality resulting from infection with human immunodeficiency virus-1. However, this combination regimen can be associated with the occurrence of serious toxicities, which may reduce patient compliance. In particular, human immunodeficiency virus-1 protease inhibitors and nevirapine among nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, have the potential for producing hepatotoxicity. We summarise current knowledge of the hepatotoxic effects associated with the commercially available human immunodeficiency virus-1 protease inhibitors based on a literature review of the major retrospective and prospective clinical studies designed to elucidate risk factors for developing hepatotoxicity among human immunodeficiency virus-1-infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy containing protease inhibitors. Coinfection with chronic hepatitis, a common occurrence in human immunodeficiency virus-1-infected patients, is identified as an independent risk factor for developing hepatotoxicity in antiretroviral-treated human immunodeficiency virus-1-infected patients treated with antiretroviral regimens containing protease inhibitors. The importance of other risk factors for developing protease inhibitor-associated hepatotoxicity and the mechanism underlying the drug-related hepatotoxicity are discussed. The data indicate that the potential for producing hepatotoxicity is variable among the protease inhibitors and suggest that based on differences in drug-related hepatotoxicity, certain protease inhibitors may be preferred for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus-hepatitis C virus coinfected patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-373
Number of pages11
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Coinfection
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Protease inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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