Tenofovir or zidovudine in second-line antiretroviral therapy after stavudine failure in southern Africa

Wandeler, Gilles; Gerber, Florian; Rohr, Julia; Chi, Benjamin H; Orrell, Catherine; Chimbetete, Cleophas; Prozesky, Hans; Boulle, Andrew; Hoffmann, Christopher J; Gsponer, Thomas; Fox, Matthew P; Zwahlen, Marcel; Egger, Matthias; Africa, Iedea Southern (2014). Tenofovir or zidovudine in second-line antiretroviral therapy after stavudine failure in southern Africa. Antiviral therapy, 19(5), pp. 521-525. International Medical Press 10.3851/IMP2710

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There is debate over using tenofovir or zidovudine alongside lamivudine in second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) following stavudine failure. We analyzed outcomes in cohorts from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe METHODS: Patients aged ≥16 years who switched from a first-line regimen including stavudine to a ritonavir-boosted lopinavir-based second-line regimen with lamivudine or emtricitabine and zidovudine or tenofovir in seven ART programs in southern Africa were included. We estimated the causal effect of receiving tenofovir or zidovudine on mortality and virological failure using Cox proportional hazards marginal structural models. Its parameters were estimated using inverse probability of treatment weights. Baseline characteristics were age, sex, calendar year and country. CD4 cell count, creatinine and hemoglobin levels were included as time-dependent confounders.


1,256 patients on second-line ART, including 958 on tenofovir, were analyzed. Patients on tenofovir were more likely to have switched to second-line ART in recent years, spent more time on first-line ART (33 vs. 24 months) and had lower CD4 cell counts (172 vs. 341 cells/μl) at initiation of second-line ART. The adjusted hazard ratio comparing tenofovir with zidovudine was 1.00 (95% confidence interval 0.59-1.68) for virologic failure and 1.40 (0.57-3.41) for death.


We did not find any difference in treatment outcomes between patients on tenofovir or zidovudine; however, the precision of our estimates was limited. There is an urgent need for randomized trials to inform second-line ART strategies in resource-limited settings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Wandeler, Gilles, Gerber, Florian (B), Gsponer, Thomas, Zwahlen, Marcel, Egger, Matthias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




International Medical Press




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

21 Feb 2014 16:58

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:33

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