Impact of antiretroviral therapy on serum lipoprotein levels and dyslipidemias: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Chidozie Nduka*, Ahmed Sarki, Olalekan Uthman, Saverio Stranges

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Background Antiretroviral drugs increase biosynthesis and reduce hepatic clearance of serum cholesterol. It is thus important to evaluate the impact of antiretroviral treatment on serum lipoprotein levels and the risk of dyslipidemia. Methods We searched EMBASE and PubMed for articles comparing lipid profiles between HIV-infected adult patients naïve and exposed to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Eligible studies were pooled by performing random-effects meta-analyses of mean serum lipoprotein levels and prevalence estimates of dyslipidemias. Results 51 observational studies comprising 37,110 patients were included in the meta-analyses. ART-exposed patients had significantly higher concentrations of total cholesterol (45 studies, mean difference [MD] = 29.4 mg/dL, 95% confidence interval [CI] 26.5 to 32.4, I2 = 82.2%), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (37 studies, MD = 14.9 mg/dL, 95% CI 11.2 to 18.5, I2 = 86.1%), and triglycerides (43 studies, MD = 46.8 mg/dL, 95% CI 37.8 to 55.8, I2 = 97.1%), compared with ART-naïve patients. The risks of hypercholesterolemia (25 studies, pooled odds ratio [OR] 3.8, 95% CI 3.1 to 4.7, I2 = 60.0%) and hypertriglyceridemia (21 studies, OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.7 to 2.9, I2 = 81.7%) were also significantly higher among ART-exposed patients, compared with ART-naïve patients. Conclusion Antiretroviral therapy is significantly associated with increase in serum lipid levels and increased risk of dyslipidemia. Whether or not these associations are causal should be investigated by future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2015


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Dyslipidemias
  • HIV
  • Lipoproteins


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