Prevalence and nature of potential drug-drug interactions among hospitalized HIV patients presenting with suspected meningitis in Uganda

Prosperity C. Eneh, Katherine Huppler Hullsiek, Daniel Kiiza, Joshua Rhein, David B. Meya, David R. Boulware, Melanie R. Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Management of co-infections including cryptococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections in persons living with HIV can lead to complex polypharmacotherapy and increased susceptibility to drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Here we characterize the frequency and types of potential DDIs (pDDIs) in hospitalized HIV patients presenting with suspected cryptococcal or tuberculous meningitis. Methods: In a retrospective review of three cryptococcal meningitis trials between 2010 and 2017 in Kampala, Uganda, medications received over hospitalization were documented and pDDI events were assessed. IBM Micromedex DRUGDEX® online drug reference system was used to identify and describe potential interactions as either contraindicated, major, moderate or minor. For antiretroviral DDIs, the Liverpool Drug Interactions Checker from the University of Liverpool was also used to further describe interactions observed. Results: In 1074 patients with suspected meningitis, pDDIs were present in 959 (overall prevalence = 89.3%) during the analyzed 30 day window. In total, 278 unique interacting drug pairs were identified resulting in 4582 pDDI events. Of all patients included in this study there was a mean frequency of 4.27 pDDIs per patient. Of the 4582 pDDI events, 11.3% contraindicated, 66.4% major, 17.4% moderate and 5% minor pDDIs were observed. Among all pDDIs identified, the most prevalent drugs implicated were fluconazole (58.4%), co-trimoxazole (25.7%), efavirenz (15.6%) and rifampin (10.2%). Twenty-one percent of the contraindicated pDDIs and 27% of the major ones involved an antiretroviral drug. Increased likelihood of QT interval prolongation was the most frequent potential clinical outcome. Dissonance in drug interaction checkers was noted requiring clinicians to consult more than one database in making clinical decisions about drug combinations. Conclusions: The overall prevalence of pDDIs in this population is high. An understanding of drug combinations likely to result in undesired clinical outcomes, such as QT interval prolongation, is paramount. This is especially important in resource limited settings where availability of therapeutic drug monitoring and laboratory follow-up are inconsistent. Adequate quantification of the increased likelihood of adverse clinical outcomes from multiple drug-drug interactions of the same kind in a single patient is needed to aid clinical decisions in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number572
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 5 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Acute care
  • Cohort studies
  • DDIs
  • Drug-drug interactions
  • HIV
  • Suspected meningitis


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