Global Medicines Program

January 21, 2014

TIPC concludes study on the risk of Anemia from Zidovudine (AZT)-Based HAART in Namibia

Catherine Corbell, PhD candidate of the Global Medicines Program describes the results of the study.

Catherine Corbell, PhD candidate of the Global Medicines Program describes the results of the study.

“This retrospective cohort study used existing electronic databases and was the first of its kind in Namibia”

In 2007, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), Namibia, changed the first line ARV regimen backbone from Stavudine to Zidovudine (AZT) –based Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART). Spontaneous reports of adverse drug reactions submitted by health care providers to Namibia’s

Therapeutics Information and Pharmacovigilance Center (TIPC) showed that anemia in users of AZTbased HAART was the most commonly reported adverse event accounting for 51% of all spontaneous adverse event reports received between 2007 and 2009. This relatively high occurrence of reported anemia incidents among AZT users was considered to be an important safety signal by MoHSS. Subsequently, MoHSS requested the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) program of the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and University of Washington (UW) to provide technical assistance in designing and conducting an analysis to investigate the risk of anemia associated with AZT.

On the 20 October 2010, the team investigating AZTassociated anaemia led by Dr. Ishmael Katjitae (MoHSS);Professor Andy Stergachis (UW); Ms. Catherine Corbell (UW), Dr. Assegid Mengistu (TIPC/ MoHSS); Ms. Jennie Lates (MoHSS); Dr. David Mabirizi (MSH/SPS) and Mr. Evans Sagwa (MSH/SPS) presented its findings on the recently concluded AZT aneamia study to members of Technical advisory committee (TAC) of the MoHSS and other interested stakeholders. The study was also presented to the Deputy Permanent Secretary, MoHSS.

This study demonstrated that linked databases can provide a valid and efficient tool for assessing use and safety of ARVs, as well as for understanding programmatic aspects of HIV care such as laboratory monitoring and substitution rates to alternative antiretroviral regimens.
The assessment was made possible by the technical assistance and support provided by the University of Washington through MSH/SPS Program in Namibia.