Successful Discontinuation of Therapy for Disseminated Mycobacterium avium Complex Infection after Effective Antiretroviral Therapy
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BACKGROUND: Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is associated with improvement or resolution of several HIV-associated opportunistic infections. Although prophylaxis against disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex infection may be successfully discontinued after a favorable response to HAART, the 1999 guidelines from the U.S. Public Health Service/Infectious Diseases Society of America recommend continuing therapy for disseminated M. avium complex infection, regardless of the response to HAART. OBJECTIVE: To examine the outcome among patients with disseminated M. avium complex infection whose antimycobacterial therapy was discontinued after a favorable response to HAART. DESIGN: Retrospective chart review between May 2000 and May 2001. SETTING: 13 Canadian HIV clinics. PATIENTS: 52 HIV-infected adults (43 men; mean age, 37.3 years) in whom successful antimycobacterial therapy for disseminated M. avium complex infection was discontinued after a favorable virologic response to HAART. MEASUREMENTS: Survival, survival free of disseminated M. avium complex infection, and CD4(+) cell count responses. RESULTS: At the time of diagnosis of disseminated M. avium complex infection, the median CD4(+) cell count was 0.016 x 10(9) cells/L, and the median plasma HIV RNA level was 90 000 copies/mL (plasma HIV RNA levels were available for only 21 patients). The patients received a median of 32 months of antimycobacterial therapy that included ethambutol plus either clarithromycin or azithromycin. When antimycobacterial therapy was discontinued, the median CD4(+) cell count was 0.23 x 10(9) cells/L and the median plasma HIV RNA level was less than 50 copies/mL. A median of 20 months after discontinuation of antimycobacterial therapy, only 1 patient had developed recurrent M. avium complex disease (37 months after stopping antimycobacterial therapy). This patient had stopped HAART 2 months earlier because of uncontrolled HIV viremia. Twenty months after stopping antimycobacterial therapy, the other 51 patients had a median CD4(+) cell count of 0.288 x 10(9) cells/L; 34 (67%) had undetectable plasma HIV RNA levels, and 8 (15%) had plasma HIV RNA levels of 50 to 1000 copies/mL. CONCLUSIONS: Discontinuation of successful disseminated M. avium complex therapy after a successful response to HAART is safe and reduces patients' pill burdens, potential drug adverse effects, drug interactions, and costs of therapy.
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