A team of local researchers have linked a popular antiretroviral (ARV) drug, which has been in use by HIV patients in the country to kidney failure.
The researchers from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Moi University School of Medicine, led by Dr Girbert Kigen and Dr Fatuma Some presented evidence that the drug, Tenofovir, commonly referred to as TR was causing kidney complications in patients.
“Here we report two clinical cases seen in our renal clinic with high creatinine levels suggestive of kidney poisoning from Tenofovir,” wrote the researchers, adding that other than their own findings, there were various other reports which made similar discoveries.
The researchers went ahead to site reports published in the Pan African Medical Journal where two male HIV-positive patients aged 53 and 54, who had been put on antiretroviral drugs both developed kidney complications just months after being put on medication. Both patients were being treated at the Moi teaching and referral hospital.
According to the researchers, when Tenofovir was withdrawn from their treatment, the two patients’ kidney functioning went back to normal.
“It is our opinion that the presence of TDF might have “primed” the kidney for injury in these two cases,” stated the researchers
They are now calling for a further evaluation to map out the magnitude of the problem among an estimated 900,000 HIV patients currently on ARVs.
Tenofovir is also a component of Truvada, a daily pill for HIV prevention (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis-PrEP) that was introduced in the Kenyan market last month.