Acute myocardial infarction associated with abacavir and tenofovir based antiretroviral drug combinations in the United States

Kunchok Dorjee, Manisha Desai, Tsering Choden, Sanjiv M. Baxi, Alan E. Hubbard, Arthur L. Reingold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Although individual antiretroviral drugs have been shown to be associated with elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, data are limited on the role of antiretroviral drug combinations. Therefore, we sought to investigate CVD risk associated with antiretroviral drug combinations. Methods: Using an administrative health-plan dataset, risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) associated with current exposure to antiretroviral drug combinations was assessed among persons living with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) across the U.S. from October 2009 through December 2014. To account for confounding-by-indication and for factors simultaneously acting as causal mediators and confounders, we applied inverse probability of treatment weighted marginal structural models to longitudinal data of patients. Results: Over 114,417 person-years (n = 73,071 persons) of ART exposure, 602 cases of AMI occurred at an event rate of 5.26 (95% CI: 4.86, 5.70)/1000 person-years. Of the 14 antiretroviral drug combinations studied, persons taking abacavir-lamivudine-darunavir had the highest incidence rate (IR: 11/1000; 95% CI: 7.4–16.0) of AMI. Risk (HR; 95% CI) of AMI was elevated for current exposure to abacavir-lamivudine-darunavir (1.91; 1.27–2.88), abacavir-lamivudine-atazanavir (1.58; 1.08–2.31), and tenofovir-emtricitabine-raltegravir (1.35; 1.07–1.71). Tenofovir-emtricitabine-efavirenz was associated with reduced risk (0.65; 0.54–0.78). Abacavir-lamivudine-darunavir was associated with increased risk of AMI beyond that expected of abacavir alone, likely attributable to darunavir co-administration. We did not find an elevated risk of AMI when abacavir-lamivudine was combined with efavirenz or raltegravir. Conclusion: The antiretroviral drug combinations abacavir-lamivudine-darunavir, abacavir-lamivudine-atazanavir and tenofovir-emtricitabine-raltegravir were found to be associated with elevated risk of AMI, while tenofovir-emtricitabine-efavirenz was associated with a lower risk. The AMI risk associated with abacavir-lamivudine-darunavir was greater than what was previously described for abacavir, which could suggest an added risk from darunavir. The results should be confirmed in additional studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57
JournalAIDS research and therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Antiretroviral agents
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Virology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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