Serious adverse drug reactions in sub-Saharan Africa in the era of antiretroviral treatment: A systematic review


We aimed to summarize and describe the burden of serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the era of antiretroviral therapy. We searched Medline, CINAHL, Africa-Wide Information, Scopus, and Web of Science, without language restriction up to March 2021. We hand-searched reference lists, conference abstracts, and dissertation databases. We included studies reporting proportions of admissions attributed to ADRs, admissions prolonged by ADRs, or in-hospital deaths attributed to ADRs. Two reviewers independently screened the studies, reviewed the study quality using a previously published tool, and extracted the data. We tested for heterogeneity using I(2) -statistics and summarized the study results using medians and interquartile ranges. Subgroup analyses summarized the results by study quality, setting, methodology, and population. From 1005 unique references identified, we included 15A├┐studies. Median study quality was 7/10; heterogeneity was very high. Median [IQR] proportion of admissions attributed to ADRs was 4.8% [1.5% to 7.0%] (14A├┐studies) and 6.4% [4.0% to 8.4%] in nine active surveillance studies in adults. Two pediatric studies reported the proportion of admissions prolonged by ADRs (0.29% and 0.99%). Three studies reported the proportion of in-hospital deaths attributed to ADRs (2.5%, 13%, and 16%). Antiretroviral and antituberculosis drugs were often implicated in serious ADRs. Evidence of the burden of serious ADRs in SSA is patchy and heterogeneous. A few high-quality studies suggest that the burden is considerable, and that it reflects the regional impact of the HIV pandemic. Further characterization of this burden is required, ideally in studies of standardized methodology.


Mouton JP, Jobanputra N, Tatz G, Cohen K




  • Population(s)
    • 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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