Substance abuse increases the risk of neuropathy in an HIV-infected cohort.
INTRODUCTION: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients commonly develop distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSP). Age, ethnicity, and toxic exposures may influence the risk. In this study we examined the association between substance use, antiretrovirals, ethnicity, and incident neuropathy in an HIV-infected cohort.
METHODS: Data were obtained from the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC), an ongoing, prospective cohort started in 1998. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the association of substance use, demographics, neurotoxic antiretrovirals, and laboratory parameters with incident neuropathy in 636 participants who were neuropathy-free at baseline.
RESULTS: The cumulative incidence of DSP was 41%. Substance use (P = 0.04), number of substances used (P = 0.04), and longer duration of HIV infection (P = 0.05) were associated with incident DSP, but demographic factors, use of neurotoxic antiretrovirals, and laboratory parameters were not.
CONCLUSIONS: Substance use and longer duration of HIV infection are risk factors for DSP in HIV-infected patients. Use of multiple substances may be particularly risky.