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1.  Cost of HAART in Italy: multicentric evaluation and determinants from a large HIV outpatient cohort 
As HIV infection turned into a chronic treatable disease, now ranking as one of the most costly in medicine, long-term sustainability of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) expenses became a major issue, especially in countries with universal access to care. Identification of determinants of higher HAART costs may therefore help in controlling costs of care, while keeping high levels of retention in care and viral suppression.
With this aim, we enrolled a large multicentric sample of consecutive unselected human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients followed at five sites of care in Italy, and evaluated annual individual HAART costs in relation to a number of sociodemographic, clinical, and laboratory variables.
We enrolled 2,044 patients, including 1,902 on HAART. Mean HAART costs were €9,377±€3,501 (range 782–29,852) per year, with remarkable site-based differences, possibly related to the different composition of local assisted populations. Percentages of patients on viral suppression were homogeneously high across all study sites. The factors identified by cross-validation were line of HAART, diagnosis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, current CD4 T-cell count, and detectable HIV viremia >50 copies/mL. In the final multivariable model, HAART costs were independently directly associated with more advanced HAART line (P<0.001) and inversely correlated with current CD4 T-cell count (P=0.024). Site of care held independent prediction of higher costs, with marked control of expenses at sites 2 (P=0.001) and 5 (P<0.001).
Higher costs of HAART were strongly associated with previous treatment failures, detectable HIV viremia, and lower CD4 T-cell count at the time of evaluation, with no correlation at all with sex, age, hepatitis C virus coinfection, and nadir CD4 T-cell counts. Newer drugs, which are typically those associated with high prices, at the time of the analysis were still prevalently prescribed to rescue and maintain viral suppression in patients with more complex treatment history. Further analyses of the contribution of the single drug/regimen to the estimated cost are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4278727  PMID: 25565872
highly active antiretroviral treatment; human immunodeficiency virus; costs; treatment failures; viremia; current CD4 count
2.  Prevalence and predictors of malignancies in a polycentric cohort of HIV patients from Italy 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19652.
HIV infected patients have a higher risk of developing cancer than the general population. Kaposi's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, primary CNS lymphoma and invasive cervical cancers are considered as AIDS defining [1]. An increased incidence in recent years has been reported also for other malignancies after the introduction of cART [2,3].
Materials and Methods
We performed a retrospective multicentric evaluation of all HIV infected patients with both AIDS and non-AIDS defining neoplasms at six Infectious Disease Units spread throughout Italy since 1991 through 2013. Cases were compared with equal number of controls without neoplasia followed at the same institutions, matched for length of HIV infection.
Since 1991, 339 consecutive cases of malignancy were collected from the six convening centres, including approximately an equal proportion of AIDS (51.2%) and non-AIDS defining tumours. Mean prevalence of tumours among centres was 8.3% (r. 6.1%–9.6%). Mean age at tumour diagnosis was significantly lower than in controls (42.6±11.0 vs 46.8±10.6 years, respectively, p<0.0001). As to risk factors for HIV infection, approximately 1/4 (26.1%) of patients were drug abusers, in equal proportion as in controls. A remarkable higher proportion of cancer patients had CD4 T-cell counts <200 c/mmc at time of diagnosis (45.2% vs 13.3%, p<0.0001). Seventy percent of tumours occurred in males; 52.8% of tumour patients were diagnosed with AIDS before and 19.0% at the time of tumour diagnosis. Ninety (28.1%) tumour patients were dead at the time of data collection, a much higher proportion than among cases (12.9%, p<0.0001). Deaths among non-AIDS (20.8%) and AIDS defining tumour patients (35.0%) were significantly different (p=0.005). Predictors of AIDS defining tumours at the time of data collection were: male sex (57.9% vs 40.6%, p=0.004), CD4 T-cell counts <200 c/mmc (63.6% vs 44.1%, p<0.0001), whereas being cART treated at the time of tumour diagnosis was protective (38.0% vs 68.0%, p<0.0001). In the final multivariate model of logistic regression, male sex (OR=2.0, p=0.03) and not being cART treated (OR=2.5, p=0.001) held as independent predictors.
Our retrospection revealed a considerably high proportion of non-AIDS defining tumours, apparently at rise in recent years. We registered high prevalence of tumours in each centre. Absence of cART seemed related with AIDS defining tumours: once more prevention of late presentation appeared the way to avoid worse prognosis in this setting.
PMCID: PMC4224807  PMID: 25394156
4.  96 Week Follow-Up of HIV-Infected Patients in Rescue with Raltegravir Plus Optimized Backbone Regimens: A Multicentre Italian Experience 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39222.
Long term efficacy of raltegravir (RAL)-including regimens in highly pre-treated HIV-1-infected patients has been demonstrated in registration trials. However, few studies have assessed durability in routine clinical settings.
Antiretroviral treatment-experienced patients initiating a RAL-containing salvage regimen were enrolled. Routine clinical and laboratory follow-up was performed at baseline, week 4, 12, and every 12 weeks thereafter. Data were censored at week 96.
Out of 320 patients enrolled, 292 (91.25%) subjects maintained their initial regimen for 96 weeks; 28 discontinued prematurely for various reasons: death (11), viral failure (8), adverse events (5), loss to follow-up (3), consent withdrawal (1). Eight among these 28 subjects maintained RAL but changed the accompanying drugs. The mean CD4+ T-cell increase at week 96 was 227/mm3; 273 out of 300 patients (91%), who were still receiving RAL at week 96, achieved viral suppression (HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL). When analyzing the immuno-virologic outcome according to the number of drugs used in the regimen, 2 (n = 45), 3 (n = 111), 4 (n = 124), or >4 (n = 40), CD4+ T-cell gain was similar across strata: +270, +214, +216, and +240 cells/mm3, respectively, as was the proportion of subjects with undetectable viral load. Laboratory abnormalities (elevation of liver enzymes, total cholesterol and triglycerides) were rare, ranging from 0.9 to 3.1%. The mean 96-week total cholesterol increase was 23.6 mg/dL.
In a routine clinical setting, a RAL-based regimen allowed most patients in salvage therapy to achieve optimal viral suppression for at least 96 weeks, with relevant immunologic gain and very few adverse events.
PMCID: PMC3394760  PMID: 22808029
5.  Successful salvage therapy with Daptomycin for osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a renal transplant recipient with Fabry-Anderson disease 
Daptomycin is licensed in adults for the management of Staphylococcus aureus methicillin-resistant infections, including bone and skin complicated infections. We describe for the first time its use in a renal transplant recipient for Fabry-Anderson Disease with right heel osteomyelitis. The patient was unresponsive to first-line Teicoplanin and second-line Tigecycline, whereas he was successfully treated with third-line Daptomycin monotherapy at 4 mg/Kg/qd for 4 weeks. Local debridement was performed in advance of each line of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3324387  PMID: 22404900
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Osteomyelitis; Daptomycin; Salvage therapy; Antibiotic therapy
6.  Rapid and persistent selection of the K103N mutation as a majority quasispecies in a HIV1-patient exposed to efavirenz for three weeks: a case report and review of the literature 
Selection of the K103N mutation is associated with moderately reduced in vitro fitness of HIV. Strains bearing K103N in vivo tend to persist, even in the absence of additional drug pressure, as minority quasispecies, often undetectable in genotyping resistance testing assays, performed at standard conditions. Here, we report on the rapid and long lasting selection of a K103N bearing strain as the dominant quasispecies after very short exposure to efavirenz in vivo.
Case presentation
A 55-year-old Caucasian man was switched to efavirenz, zidovudine and lamivudine in February 2003, while on viral suppression in his first-line highly active anti-retroviral treatment regimen. One month later, he reported inconsistent adherence and his viremia level was 5700 c/mL. He did not attend further checkups until September 2005, when his viral load was 181,000 c/mL. The patient reported interrupting his medications approximately three weeks after simplification. The genotyping resistance testing assay was performed both on HIV RNA and HIV DNA from plasma, yielding an identical pattern with the isolate presence of the K103N mutation in the prevalent strain.
Persistence of the K103N mutation as a majority quasispecies may ensue after a very short exposure to efavirenz. Our case would therefore suggest that the presence of the K103N mutation should always be ruled out by genotyping resistance testing assays, even after minimal exposures to efavirenz.
PMCID: PMC2827172  PMID: 21092074
7.  Treatment of Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome 
In this article, we have reviewed the main therapeutic measures for the treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES). Review of the literature was based on computer searches (Pub-Med, Index Medicus) and personal experiences. We have evaluated all the measures now available for treating patients with sporadic gastrinomas or gastrinomas associated with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1, (MEN 1) including medical therapy such as antisecretory drugs and somatostatin analogs (SST), chemotherapy and chemoembolization, and surgical procedures. In ZES patients, the best therapeutic procedure is surgery which, if radical, can be curative. Medical treatment can be the best palliative therapy and should be used, when possible, in association with surgery, in a multimodal therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC4320348  PMID: 16222731
Gastrinoma; Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome; MEN 1; Proton pump inhibitors; Somatostatin analogs; Chemoembolization

Results 1-7 (7)