Antiretroviral (ARV) management in pediatrics is a challenging process in which multiple barriers to optimal therapy can lead to poor clinical outcomes. In a pediatric HIV clinic, we implemented a systematic ARV stewardship program to evaluate ARV regimens and make recommendations for optimization when indicated.Methods:
A comprehensive assessment tool was used to screen for issues related to genotypic resistance, virologic/immunologic response, drug–drug interactions, side effects and potential for regimen simplification. The ARV stewardship team (AST) made recommendations to the HIV clinic provider, and followed patients prospectively to assess clinical outcomes at 6 and 12 months.Results:
The most common interventions made by the AST included regimen optimization in patients on suboptimal regimens based on resistance mutations (35.4%), switching to safer ARVs (33.3%) and averting significant drug–drug interactions (10.4%). In patients anticipated to have a change in viral load (VL) as a result of the AST recommendations, we identified a significant benefit in virologic outcomes at 6 and 12 months when recommendations were implemented within 6 months of ARV review. Patients who had recommendations implemented within 6 months had a 7-fold higher probability of achieving a 0.7 log10 reduction in VL by 6 months, and this benefit remained significant after controlling for adherence [adjusted odds ratio: 6.8 (95% confidence interval: 1.03–44.9; P <0.05)].Conclusions:
A systematic ARV stewardship program implemented at a pediatric HIV clinic significantly improved clinical outcomes. ARV stewardship programs can be considered a core strategy for continuous quality improvement in the management of HIV-infected children and adolescents.