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Justice AC, Gordon KS, Skanderson M, Edelman EJ, Akgün KM, Gibert CL, Lo Re V, Rimland D, Womack JA, Wyatt CM, Tate JP, VACS Project Team. Nonantiretroviral polypharmacy and adverse health outcomes among HIV-infected and uninfected individuals. AIDS (London, England). 2018 Mar 27; 32(6):739-749.
BACKGROUND: HIV-positive individuals (HIV+) on antiretrovirals commonly take enough other medications to cross a threshold for polypharmacy but little is known about associated outcomes. We asked whether non-antiretroviral polypharmacy is associated with hospitalization and mortality and whether associations differ by HIV status. METHODS: Data on HIV+ and uninfected individuals in the US Veterans Affairs Healthcare System were analyzed. Eligible HIV+ were on antiretrovirals with suppressed HIV-1 RNA and uninfected individuals received at least one medication. We calculated average non-antiretroviral medication count for fiscal year 2009. As there is no established threshold for non-antiretroviral polypharmacy, we considered more than two and at least five medications. We followed for hospitalization and mortality (fiscal year 2010-2015), adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity and VACS Index. RESULTS: Among 9473 HIV+ and 39?812 uninfected individuals respectively, non-antiretroviral polypharmacy was common ( > 2: 67, 71%; = 5: 34, 39%). VACS Index discriminated risk of hospitalization (c-statistic: 0.62, 0.60) and mortality (c-statistic: 0.72, 0.70) similarly in both groups. After adjustment, more than two (hazard ratio 1.51, 95% CI 1.46-1.55) and at least five non-antiretrovirals (hazard ratio 1.52, 95% CI 1.49-1.56) were associated with hospitalization with no interaction by HIV status. Risk of mortality associated with more than two non-antiretrovirals interacted with HIV status (P? = 0.002), but not for at least five (adjusted hazard ratio 1.43, 95% CI 1.36-1.50). For both groups and both outcomes, average medication count demonstrated an independent, dose response, association. CONCLUSION: Neither severity of illness nor demographics explain a dose response, association of non-antiretroviral polypharmacy with adverse health outcomes among HIV+ and uninfected individuals.