Journal Article

Therapeutic approaches to combating lipoatrophy: do they work?

Allison Martin and Patrick W. G. Mallon

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 55, issue 5, pages 612-615
Published in print May 2005 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online May 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Therapeutic approaches to combating lipoatrophy: do they work?

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  • Medical Oncology
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Therapeutic strategies for combating HIV-associated lipodystrophy, and lipoatrophy in particular, have been a major focus of HIV clinical research. The initial impetus focused on protease inhibitor withdrawal strategies, which resulted in improved lipid profiles and insulin resistance but no change in subcutaneous or visceral adipose tissue. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor withdrawal strategies, specifically withdrawal of thymidine analogues, have achieved greater success in the reversal of lipoatrophy. In particular, the MITOX extension study demonstrated a 35% improvement in limb fat over a 2 year period after a switch from a thymidine analogue to abacavir. However, recovery from lipoatrophy is a slow process, and limited access to and potential toxicities introduced by alternative therapies can limit switch strategies. The use of thiazolidinediones as agents to reverse lipoatrophy has, unfortunately, been shown to be ineffective, as have alternative therapeutic approaches with agents such as metformin, lipid-lowering agents and growth hormones. Although prevention of lipodystrophy may be the only definitive approach to combat this syndrome, the role of intermittent highly active antiretroviral therapy as a means of reducing the incidence, or slowing the development, of lipodystrophy is currently under evaluation.

Keywords: HIV; lipodystrophy; antiretroviral therapy; body composition; hyperlipidaemia

Journal Article.  2741 words. 

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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