Pilot comparison of the ease of swallowing of single tablet antiretroviral regimens

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AIDS care


Daily adherence to lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) is required to achieve long term treatment success. However, patient preferences for ART tablet size have not been well studied. Our study assessed factors associated with the ease of swallowing (EoS) and tolerability of two placebo tablets representing and matching B/F/TAF (BPT) and DTG/ABC/3TC (DPT). Fifty ART-naïve patients were randomized into a two-period cross-over study. Likert scale (1-5) questionnaires were administered to assess patient factors influencing the ease of swallowing, adherence, home medications, medication preferences and perceptions. Comparisons were done using Student t-tests and ordinal regression. Participants were 64% female, 61% white, mean age 43 years, and taking a mean (median) of 4(1) pills/day. BPT was reported to be easier than DPT with ease of swallowability 1.76 vs. 2.42 (p < 0.001) (1 = very easy). DPT tablet was correctly perceived as larger than BPT (p < 0.001); with both tablets perceived as smaller than actual size (p < 0.001). EoS of either tablet was positively associated with the EoS of the largest home tablet medication (p = 0.021, p = 0.03). Patient's perceptions of EoS can affect their medication adherence, especially in HIV, and should be considered in treatment regimens.

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ePub ahead of print

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