Antiretroviral drug use and the risk of falls in people living with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis



The risk of falls in people living with HIV (PLHIVs) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has received little attention in the literature. The aim of the meta-analysis is to quantify the association between fall risk and various categories of drugs used in ART.

Material and Methods:

PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were systematically searched from inception to January 2023. Any observational study or controlled trial that reported on the relationship of at least one antiretroviral drug with falls in PLHIVs was included. Data on the frequency of single fallers, multiple fallers (≥2 falls), and non-fallers were extracted and studied for each drug and drug category. The pooled results were reported as an odds ratio (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI).


A total of five observational studies (51 675 participants) were included out of 414 articles obtained through a literature review. Stavudine use was found to be associated with an increased risk of single falls in PLHIVs (OR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1.08–2.66, P=0.02). However, efavirenz (OR: 0.82, 95% CI=0.76–0.89, P<0.001) and zidovudine (OR: 0.82, 95% CI=0.77–0.92, P<0.001) were found protective against the single falls. Didanosine had no significant association with fall risk (OR: 1.23, 95% CI: 0.78–1.93, P=0.37). Likewise, protease inhibitors, integrase inhibitors, nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors were discovered to have no significant association with fall risk.


Most drug categories of ART have no significant association with the risk of falls in PLHIVs. However, certain drugs, such as didanosine and stavudine, which have the inherent effect of causing balance deficits and neuropathy, should be used cautiously.


Lamichhane P, Koutentakis M, Rathi S, Ode AD, Trivedi H, Zafar S, Lamichhane P, Gupta P, Ghimire R




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment


Abstract/Full paper

Email 1 selected articles

Email 1 selected articles

Error! The email wasn't sent. Please try again.

Your email has been sent!