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Sister with lipoatrophy

Aug 30, 2011

i had written to you before about a sister who's been HIV+ for the past 9yrs but my question hasn't been answered for 3days now.the problem is shes losing a lot of weight which includes facial wasting. what makes matters worst is that there are veins all over her arms and legs this makes it so evident that she's sick and this makes her lose her self esteem.would you advise for a change of regimen or should she stop?because she'd stopped sometime ago for about 2wks and there was improvement.she takes a combination of nevirapine, zidovudine and tenovir. i really would like to help my sister. plz help Dr.

Response from Dr. Pierone

Your sister has a combination of facial wasting and subcutaneous fat wasting that characterizes a condition known as lipoatrophy.

The HIV combination treatment that your sister takes contains 3 different antiretrovirals. Nevirapine is a NNRTI non-nuclesoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that has not been linked with lipoatrophy. Tenofovir is a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor that is linked to lipoatrophy, but confers a lower risk than other "nukes". Zidovudine (AZT, Retrovir) is a thymidine analogue nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that contributes to the development of lipoatrophy.

Changing zidovudine to an alternative agent may help reverse the lipoatrophy that your sister is experiencing. One option would be a switch from zidovudine to the integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress).

I hope this information helps and best of luck!

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