The emerging side effects of HIV treatment and their implications for patients are reviewed in an article to be published online in Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology. Although a variety of drug combinations are proving effective against HIV, their unwanted effects on metabolism and therefore body-fat distribution have implications for patients' adherence to treatment and long-term health.
Up to 80% of patients taking antiretroviral therapy for HIV show changes in body shape - for example, losing fat from the face but increasing it around the waist. Such effects can make patients reluctant to keep taking their drug combination. General fat and sugar metabolism can also be adversely affected, with less obvious consequences.
The long-term effects of these metabolic changes on patients' health are under investigation. Julian Falutz urges that, in the meantime, an individualized approach to treatment be taken. Drug combinations for each patient can be adjusted to minimize adverse effects, which should enable them to continue their battle against HIV.
Julian Falutz (McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada)
Ian Newman (Editor, Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism)
Free article available online.
(C) Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology press release.
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