Research Article Open Access

Antiretroviral Toxicity and Oxidative Stress

Adikwu Elias1, Brambaifa Nelson1, Deo Oputiri1 and Oru-Bo Precious Geoffrey2
  • 1 University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • 2 , Nigeria
American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Volume 8 No. 4, 2013, 187-196


Submitted On: 23 April 2013
Published On: 20 November 2013

How to Cite: Elias, A., Nelson, B., Oputiri, D. & Geoffrey, O. P. (2013). Antiretroviral Toxicity and Oxidative Stress. American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 8(4), 187-196.


Antiretroviral drugs are used for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus, they are used as combination regimens to achieve the highest possible benefit, tolerability, compliance and to diminish the risk of resistance development. Reports from preclinical and clinical studies have linked antiretrovirals with some toxicological effects which could be associated with redox imbalance (oxidative stress). This stimulated us to review relevant literature on the relationship between antiretroviral induced toxicological effects and redox imbalance. Available literature on antiretroviral associated toxicological effects and oxidative stress were comprehensively reviewed. Literature showed that antiretrovirals are associated with toxicological effects which includes hepatotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, hematotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Reports in animal studies also showed that these toxicological effects could be associated with oxidative stress through the generation of oxidative radicals, depletion of antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes leading to mitochondria damage in the heart, kidney, liver brain and other organs. In humans, studies also showed that antiretrovirals are associated with lipid peroxidation, depletion of antoxidants and antioxidant enzymes which are elements of oxidative stress. Furthermore it was observed that supplementations with some antioxidants mitigated antiretroviral induced oxidative stress, mitochondria damage and toxicological effects. Antiretroviral drugs are associated with toxicological effects which may involve redox imbalance, but more studies are required to correlate antiretroviral toxicities with oxidative stress.



  • Antiretroviral
  • Toxicity
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxidative radicals
  • Antioxidants