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Early versus delayed antiretroviral treatment in HIV-positive people with cryptococcal meningitis

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Eshun-Wilson, Ingrid, Okwen, Mbah P, Richardson, Martha and Bicanic, Tihana (2018) 'Early versus delayed antiretroviral treatment in HIV-positive people with cryptococcal meningitis'. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Vol 7, Issue CD009012.

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Abstract

Background
There remains uncertainty about the optimum timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in HIV‐positive people with cryptococcal meningitis. This uncertainty is the result of conflicting data on the mortality risk and occurrence of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) when ART is initiated less than four weeks after cryptococcal meningitis treatment is commenced.
Objectives
To compare the outcomes of early initiation of ART (less than four weeks after starting antifungal treatment) versus delayed initiation of ART (four weeks or more after starting antifungal treatment) in HIV‐positive people with concurrent cryptococcal meningitis.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, and Embase for trials published between 1 January 1980 and 7 August 2017. We additionally searched international trial registries, including ClinicalTrials.gov and WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), and conference abstracts from the International AIDS Society (IAS) and the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) for ongoing or unpublished studies between 2015 and 2017. We reviewed reference lists of included studies to identify additional studies.
Selection criteria
We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared early versus delayed ART initiation in HIV‐positive people with cryptococcal meningitis. Children, adults, and adolescents from any setting were eligible for inclusion.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently applied the inclusion criteria and extracted data. We presented dichotomous outcomes as risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We presented time‐to‐death data as hazard ratios with 95% CIs. We assessed the certainty of the evidence using the GRADE approach.
Main results
Four trials including 294 adult participants met the inclusion criteria of this review. Participants were predominantly from low‐ and middle‐income countries. Two trials treated cryptococcal meningitis with amphotericin B and fluconazole; a third trial used fluconazole monotherapy; and the fourth trial did not specify the antifungal used.

Early ART initiation may increase all‐cause mortality compared to delayed ART initiation (RR 1.42, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.97; 294 participants, 4 trials; low‐certainty evidence). Early ART initiation may reduce relapse of cryptococcal meningitis compared to delayed ART initiation (RR 0.27, 95% CI 0.07 to 1.04; 205 participants, 2 trials, low‐certainty evidence). We are uncertain whether early ART initiation increases or reduces cryptococcal IRIS events compared to delayed ART initiation (RR 3.56, 95% CI 0.51 to 25.02; 205 participants, 2 trials; I2 = 54%; very low‐certainty evidence). We are uncertain if early ART initiation increases or reduces virological suppression at six months compared to delayed ART initiation (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.22; 205 participants, 2 trials; I2 statistic = 0%; very low‐certainty evidence).

We were unable to pool results related to rate of fungal clearance for the two trials that reported this outcome; individual trial results indicated that there was no difference in cerebrospinal fluid fungal clearance between trial arms. Similarly, we were unable to pool results on adverse events for the trials reporting on this outcome; individual trial results indicated no difference in the occurrence of grade 3 to 5 adverse events between trial arms.

Three of the four included trials had an overall low or unclear risk of bias related to the primary outcome of all‐cause mortality. However, we assessed one trial as at high risk of bias due to selective outcome reporting and other bias. This, in addition to the few clinical events and imprecision of effect estimates, led to downgrading of the evidence to low or very low certainty.
Authors' conclusions
The results of this review are relevant to HIV‐positive adults with cryptococcal meningitis in low‐ and middle‐income countries. These data suggest a higher risk of mortality among people who initiate ART within four weeks of cryptococcal meningitis diagnosis. However, it is unclear if this higher mortality risk is related to cryptococcal meningitis‐IRIS.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QV Pharmacology > Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Anti-Infective Agents. Antineoplastic Agents > QV 268.5 Antiviral agents (General)
QW Microbiology and Immunology > Fungi. Pathogenic Fungi. > QW 180 Pathogenic Fungi
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV infections
WL Nervous System > WL 200 Meninges. Blood-brain barrier
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd009012.pub3
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2018 10:50
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2018 10:22
URI: http://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/9023

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