Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Higher risk of renal impairment associated with tenofovir use amongst people living with HIV in India: A comparative cohort analysis between Western India and United Kingdom

Sanjay N Pujari1*, Colette Smith2, Abhimanyu Makane1, Mike Youle3, Margaret Johnson3, Vivek Bele1, Kedar Joshi1, Digamber Dabhade1 and Sanjay Bhagani3

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Infectious Diseases, Pune, India

2 University College London, London, UCL, UK

3 Royal Free Hospital, London, UK

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:173  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-173

Published: 29 March 2014



Data on the renal safety of Tenofovir (TDF) in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) is scarce. We compared development of various forms of renal impairment with use of TDF-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART) between a cohort from the Institute of Infectious Diseases (IID) Pune, Western India and the Royal Free Hospital (RFH) London, UK.


This is a retrospective analysis of change in estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFRs) at 6, 12 and 24 months post TDF initiation using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation. In people living with Human Immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV) with pre-TDF eGFR > 90 ml/min/1.73 m2 time to development of and factors associated with progression to eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 were calculated using standard survival methods.


A total of 574 (59% Caucasian) at the RFH, and 708 (100% Indian ethnicity) PLHIV from IID were included. Baseline median eGFR were similar; RFH 102 (IQR 89, 117), IID 100 (82, 119). At 24 months, mean (SD) decline in eGFR was -7(21) at RFH (p < 0.0001) and -7(40) at IID (p = 0.001). Amongst those with pre-TDF eGFR > 90 ml/min/1.73 m2 PLHIV at IID were more likely to develop an eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 (aHR = 7.6 [95% CI 3.4, 17.4] p < 0.0001) and had a faster rate of progression estimated using Kaplan Meier methods. Risk factors included age (per 10 years older: aHR = 2.21 [1.6, 3.0] p < 0.0001) and receiving concomitant ritonavir boosted Protease Inhibitor (PI/r) (aHR = 2.4 [1.2, 4.8] p = 0.01).


There is higher frequency of treatment limiting renal impairment events amongst PLHIV receiving TDF in Western India. As TDF scale up progresses, programs need to develop capacity for monitoring and treatment of renal impairment associated with TDF.

Tenofovir; Nephrotoxicity; India