Safety of antiretroviral therapy in the treatment of HIV/AIDS in children: Systematic review and meta-analysis


The safety of using different antiretroviral therapies (ART) in pediatric HIV/AIDS patients is not well-established. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the safety of ART in children. A systematic review of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) was conducted to assess the safety of ART used by pediatric patients living with HIV/AIDS. The electronic search was conducted in PubMed and Scopus, in addition to a manual search. Studies were included if they assessed the safety of ART compared to placebo or another ART. Direct and indirect meta-analyses were conducted regarding safety outcomes. The systematic review included 21 RCTs. The studies included more than 5500 participants, and age ranged from 3 months to 18 years. The drugs evaluated were nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI); non-NRTI; and protease inhibitors. The predominant route of infection was vertical. Direct meta-analyses were performed for the outcomes sleep disorders, hepatobiliary disorders, respiratory disorders, hypertransaminasemia, neutropenia, hospitalization, and death. For these outcomes, no statistically significant differences were found. Indirect meta-analyses were performed for the outcomes anemia, gastrointestinal disorders, liver disorders, severe adverse events (AE), AE that led to changes in treatment, fever, and skin manifestations. However, no statistically significant differences were found for these outcomes. In this study, non-significant differences were detected in the safety of different ART used in pediatric individuals. The choice of appropriate therapy should be based on its efficacy and the individual characteristics of each patient


Szpak R, Lombardi NF, Dias FA, Borba HHL, Pontarolo R, Wiens A




  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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