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I switched, but I'm still losing fat!

Apr 5, 2008

I have had a lot of problems with lipoatrophy. Now I'm taking atazanavir and saquinavir with a ritonavir booster. I have had an increase in breast size and seem to be experiencing some facial fat loss. I am quite disappointed. I thought I was avoiding these kinds of problems by switching to these drugs. Any advice and information would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Pierone

As a general rule, protease inhibitors tend to be associated with lipohypertrophy. Breast enlargement, abnormal fat deposits, and abdominal protuberance are manifestations of lipohypertrophy. Nucleosides, especially d4T and AZT tend to be associated with lipoatrophy. From your post, I assume you are only on these 3 protease inhibitors and no nucleosides. Even without nucleosides on board sometimes lipoatrophy may progress, although this is not common. Depending on your treatment history and available options it might be possible to revamp your regimen to lessen the chance of progressive lipohypertrophy. There are scant data yet, but it may be that integrase inhibitors (raltegravir) and second generation NNRTI's (etravirine) may be another option to control viremia with less metabolic impact. Also, for established facial lipoatrophy Radiesse and Sculptra are very helpful. If you repost with your treatment history and details of resistance mutations (if present) I might be better able to guide you. Thanks for posting and best of luck!

lipoatrophy tests?
Fat and weight loss on medications

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