Impact of weight gain with dolutegravir on antiretroviral adherence and viral suppression in four African countries

Matthew L. Romo*, Allahna L. Esber, John Owuoth, Jonah Maswai, Valentine Sing'oei, Michael Iroezindu, Emmanuel Bahemana, Hannah Kibuuka, J. Sean Cavanaugh, Neha Shah, Julie A. Ake, Trevor A. Crowell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We hypothesized that total body weight (TBW) gain after switching antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen to tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/lamivudine/dolutegravir (TLD) may negatively impact ART adherence and viral load (VL) and therefore sought to examine these associations. Methods: The ongoing African Cohort Study (AFRICOS) enrols people with HIV at 12 facilities in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda supported by The US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Among ART-experienced participants who switched to TLD, we used multivariable multinomial logistic regression to examine associations between pre−/post-TLD changes in percentage TBW (≥5% gain, <5% change, ≥5% loss) and changes in self-reported ART adherence (0, 1–2, ≥3 days missed doses in past 30 days) and VL [(<50 copies/mL (undetectable), 50–999 copies/mL (detectable, but suppressed), ≥1000 copies/mL (unsuppressed)]. Results: Among 1508 participants, median time from starting TLD to follow-up was 9 months (interquartile range: 7–11). Overall, 438 (29.1%) participants experienced a TBW gain ≥5%, which was more common among females than among males (32.2% vs 25.2%, p = 0.005) and participants switching from efavirenz [32.0% vs nevirapine (19.9%) and boosted protease inhibitor (20.0%); p < 0.001]. Compared with a TBW change <5% [950 (63.0%) participants], TBW gain ≥5% was not significantly associated with more days with missed ART doses [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.77, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.48–1.23] or VL becoming detectable and/or unsuppressed (aOR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.41–1.16). Conclusions: Although a substantial proportion of participants experienced weight gain after switching to TLD, we did not identify a significant impact on adherence or virological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1074
Number of pages9
JournalHIV Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV integrase inhibitors
  • antiretroviral agents
  • drug-related side effects and adverse reactions
  • medication adherence
  • weight gain


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