Tolerance, compliance and psychological consequences of post-exposure prophylaxis in health-care workers

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Our objectives were to evaluate tolerance and compliance of post-exposure triple therapy in health-care workers (HCWs) by retrospective observational study. Structured telephone interview of HCWs identified through data from antiretroviral prescribing centres.

Twenty HCWs who received triple prophylaxis were identified over one year. Sixteen agreed to participate in the study. All but one source patient had documented HIV infection. Half HCWs were not aware of post-exposure therapy. Most HCWs received a zidovudine, lamivudine and indinavir combination. All completed at least 4 weeks of therapy. Only 50% received their first dosage less than 4 h after exposure. Nearly all experienced adverse events, mostly digestive (nausea and abdominal pain n=15) or psychological (anxiety and depression n=15), none resulting in therapy discontinuation. Most events occurred 2 to 7 days after therapy initiation. Most modified their sexual life with abstinence or condom use. Compliance was excellent. Half HCWs did not miss any tablet, 4 forgot one dosing a month and 4 one dosing a week. Follow up is over 6 months in all but one HCW. No HIV seroconversion has been observed to date.

In France, post-exposure triple antiretroviral therapy is widely available 24 h a day in every emergency room but further training and development of HCWs is needed to decrease consulting time and increase referral to specialized physicians. Notable moderate adverse events, both physical and psychological are noted, however, compliance is excellent.

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