PostExposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is widely used after exposures to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to reduce the risk of infection in the healthcare setting. Few data are available on the safety and tolerability of Anti Retro Viral drugs (ARV) among Health Care Workers (HCWs) who are prescribed prophylaxis.
To collect information about the safety and compliance of taking ARV for HIV PEP among HCWs.
Retrospective review on registry data regarding occupational HIV exposures, the PEP regimens used, and the adverse events associated with PEP was performed.
During a five year-period, 820 episodes with occupational blood or body fluid exposures were reported Nurses (27%) were the largest group at risk. The most common type of exposure was percutaneous injuries (82%). Only 125 (15%) HCWs had occupational exposures to HIV, 64 HCWs were prescribed HIV PEP and 32 (50%) HCWs did not complete the PEP regimen as initially prescribed. The commonly prescribed ARV was zidovudine (38%), lamivudine (33%), and indinavir (11%). Overall, 18 (28%) HCWs reported symptoms while on PEP such as nausea (89%), vomiting (55%), and dizziness (39%). None of the HCWs had HIV seroconversion.
Adverse effects from HIV PEP were very common. Clinicians prescribing HIV PEP need to discuss with HCWs about PEP efficacy and side effects. Education efforts aimed at occupational exposure prevention are still important issues.