The emergence of liver diseases as one of the major causes of death in people infected with HIV has paralleled the introduction of more effective antiretroviral therapies. This study was carried out with the aim of determining the effects of antiretroviral treatment on liver enzymes (SGOT and SGPT) in patients placed on antiretroviral therapy. A prospective cross-sectional 3 years study was carried out among patients confirmed to be HIV positive and who were to be placed on antiretroviral drugs at the HIV/AIDS out patient clinic of the Yaoundé Central Hospital, . Cameroon. Levels of transaminases of patients were measured in four phases using the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC) protocol. Of the 150 patients who participated in the study, 54.0 %( 81/150) presented with transaminitis at the final phase of the study with respect to aspartate aminotransferase (AST), 77.78% (63/81) of whose AST levels only increased after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). 22.67% (34/150) presented with transaminitis with respect to alanine aminotransferase (ALT). At the final phase, 70.58% of whose ALT levels only increased after HAART initiation. Increase in blood transaminase levels was statistically independent on age group and the drug combinations. Increase in AST levels was associated with an increase in ALT levels upon treatment (r = 0.58). There was a significant positive linear relationship between duration of treatment and concentration of transaminases over the years (r= 0.9). We therefore concluded that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is associated with low level hepatotoxicity at therapy initiation, regardless of drug class or combination.
Keywords: Antiretroviral treatment, Liver function enzymes, Hepatotoxicity, Highly active antiretroviral therapy
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