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Sure HIV Meds Could Set off Weight Achieve

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — A generally prescribed element of the life-saving antiretroviral drug cocktails used to deal with HIV could set off weight achieve, new analysis warns.

The priority stems from monitoring sufferers taking antiretroviral remedy (ART). For the reason that mid-Nineteen Nineties, the remedy has relied on numerous drug combos to basically outwit HIV, controlling viral hundreds and turning a once-deadly an infection right into a manageable situation.

However the brand new analysis is elevating questions on one drug featured in lots of ART recipes: tenofovir alafenamide, often known as TAF.

There is no query that TAF works. The researchers famous that it’s each efficient and well-tolerated. And TAF has gained reputation in recent times as a result of it poses much less danger to kidney and bone well being than one other medicine, referred to as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF).

However the brand new examine discovered that over 18 months, sufferers on an antiretroviral routine containing TAF gained almost 4 kilos on common, in comparison with about 1.5 kilos amongst sufferers on drug cocktails containing TDF.


That resulted in almost 14% of regular weight TAF customers turning into chubby or overweight, in contrast with simply over 8% of their TDF counterparts, the findings confirmed.

“TDF and TAF are widespread elements of those combo medicine and most ART regimens,” mentioned Dr. Michael Horberg, director of Kaiser Permanente’s division of HIV/AIDS and STDs. “That is why this examine is so vital.”

Horberg, who was not concerned with the examine however reviewed the findings, identified that each medicine are additionally a part of most so-called PrEP regimens. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)is designed to forestall HIV infections from taking maintain within the first place, “so an excellent better variety of individuals [are] perhaps utilizing it for that,” he mentioned.

Horberg mentioned the newer TAF medicine has been thought to be “the reply” to the primary drawback with the older TDF drug, which raised creatinine ranges in some sufferers, an indicator of worsening kidney perform.

“And, in probably the most half, that is true,” Horberg mentioned.

He mentioned the brand new examine is essential, nevertheless, as a result of weight achieve and worsening lipid ranges are “not small points both.” Lipids are fatty substances that may construct up and clog arteries.


Most individuals do not wish to achieve weight due to medicine, “and rising lipids will be related to heart problems (coronary heart assaults, strokes), which we wish to forestall in individuals with HIV additionally,” Horberg mentioned.

For the examine, a group led by Dr. Bernard Surial of Bern College Hospital in Switzerland, reviewed weight achieve knowledge collected from greater than 3,400 Swiss HIV sufferers between 2016 and 2019.

All had been taking an antiretroviral cocktail containing the older TDF drug for no less than six months, earlier than switching to an ART routine containing the newer TAF drug.

Weight achieve amongst sufferers who made the swap was then stacked up in opposition to almost 900 sufferers who caught with TDF throughout 18 months of monitoring.

In that point, the researchers discovered that not solely had been weight beneficial properties way more vital amongst TAF customers, however so had been rises of their ldl cholesterol and triglyceride ranges, which may sign elevated danger of coronary heart bother.

Horberg mentioned the findings come as little shock.


“Our sufferers had been noticing this weight achieve earlier than we had been,” he mentioned. “And we used to say ‘oh, it is not the meds. You are simply consuming extra since you’re doing higher.’ Effectively, we now know that is not true. And in the event that they weren’t having any kidney issues, we could have been attempting to repair an issue that did not exist” in switching therapies.

So what does this imply for therapy choices going ahead?

“Frankly, this must be finished on a case-by-case foundation,” Horberg mentioned.

One consideration is cash, he famous, as TDF is now a generic medicine and less expensive than TAF.

“We would like everybody to have these drugs accessible, together with for PrEP,” Horberg mentioned. “However weight achieve is a severe situation, and lots of sufferers don’t like the way it makes them really feel or look,” PrEP takers included.

If weight achieve is as a result of medicine, they’re going to cease taking it, Horberg mentioned, so a stability should be struck. If there are kidney considerations, it is vital to change. If not, docs ought to focus on the pluses and minuses of any change with their sufferers, he urged.


Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, a fellow on the Infectious Illnesses Society of America, and chairman of the HIV Drugs Affiliation, additionally reviewed the examine findings.

“This weight achieve distinction is one thing we take note of as a result of we’re attempting to maintain individuals wholesome for many years, not for years,” Gandhi mentioned.

The medicines that revolutionized HIV therapy within the mid-Nineteen Nineties successfully acquired the virus below management, however they do not remove it. Which means as soon as a affected person begins taking ART meds, they proceed for the remainder of their lives, making unintended effects a priority, he defined.

“At the moment, there are far fewer unintended effects than when ART got here on the scene,” Gandhi mentioned. “And the burden achieve discovered amongst these taking the newer formulation of tenofovir was comparatively small. And never everybody was affected. However there was a distinction.”

For sufferers with borderline kidney illness or osteoporosis, the brand new components has numerous benefits, Gandhi mentioned, including that extra analysis into weight achieve considerations is required.


Within the meantime, choices about which formulation to make use of must be based mostly on a dialogue with every affected person’s well being care supplier “and determined case by case,” he mentioned.

The examine was revealed on-line March 16 within the Annals of Inner Drugs.

Extra info

Be taught extra about antiretroviral remedy on the U.S. Nationwide Institutes of Well being.

SOURCES: Michael Horberg, MD, MAS, director, HIV/AIDS and STDs, Kaiser Permanente and Care Administration Institute, Rockville, Md.; Rajesh Gandhi, MD, chair and fellow, Infectious Illnesses Society of America, and chair, HIV Drugs Affiliation; Annals of Inner Drugs, March 16, 2021, on-line

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