OBJECTIVES: Tenofovir is associated with reduced renal function. It is not clear whether patients can be expected to fully recover their renal function if tenofovir is discontinued.
METHODS: We calculated the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) for patients in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study remaining on tenofovir for at least 1 year after starting a first antiretroviral therapy regimen with tenofovir and either efavirenz or the ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor lopinavir, atazanavir or darunavir. We estimated the difference in eGFR slope between those who discontinued tenofovir after 1 year and those who remained on tenofovir.
RESULTS: A total of 1049 patients on tenofovir for at least 1 year were then followed for a median of 26 months, during which time 259 patients (25%) discontinued tenofovir. After 1 year on tenofovir, the difference in eGFR between those starting with efavirenz and those starting with lopinavir, atazanavir and darunavir was - 0.7 [95% confidence interval (CI) -2.3 to 0.8], -1.4 (95% CI -3.2 to 0.3) and 0.0 (95% CI -1.7 to 1.7) mL/min/1.73 m(2), respectively. The estimated linear rate of decline in eGFR on tenofovir was -1.1 (95% CI -1.5 to -0.8) mL/min/1.73 m(2) per year and its recovery after discontinuing tenofovir was 2.1 (95% CI 1.3 to 2.9) mL/min/1.73 m(2) per year. Patients starting tenofovir with either lopinavir or atazanavir appeared to have the same rates of decline and recovery as those starting tenofovir with efavirenz.
CONCLUSIONS: If patients discontinue tenofovir, clinicians can expect renal function to recover more rapidly than it declined.