Switching antiretroviral regimes for the treatment of HIV: safety implications

<p><b>Introduction</b>: There are multiple reasons to switch from a virologically successful antiretroviral regimen. Some of them are related to toxicity. Lately, combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) switches have often been related to drug-drug interactions which may also eventually entail safety issues as well.</p> <p><b>Areas covered</b>: The purpose of this review is to analyze causes of switching between virologically successful cART regimes related to safety issues. The most relevant papers were selected and summarized.</p> <p><b>Expert opinion</b>: Switching cART has been a popular strategy to address safety issues throughout the antiretroviral era. The myriad of switching studies have paralleled the study and release into clinical practice of new antiretroviral drugs with different and often improved safety profiles. Most of them have been successful in improving antiretroviral toxicity while keeping HIV replication under control. However, it should be taken into account that, whenever a new drug is given, there is a possibility of new drug-related toxicity. Notwithstanding that, an increase in cART switching is foreseen, given the fact that we have a wide antiretroviral drug armamentarium and that people living with HIV are ageing and thus more prone to developing age-related co-morbidities whose therapies may entail new interactions and eventually new toxicities.</p>