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Changing Meds

Apr 6, 2008

Hi docs,

I'm currently on Combivir and Sustiva for about a year, my labs are fine but I'm worried about lypoatrophy. I would like you to advise me if its a wise decision to change meds right now.Eg: Tenofovir. (Bc I'm brazilian) Thanks for the nice job;)

Response from Dr. DeJesus

Several studies have shown that zidovudine, a component on Combivir, is associated with a progression in subcutaneous fat loss, or lipoatrophy. Although it appears that not every patient develops this problem, or at least, clinically evident; most patient do at some point during their treatment. Unfortunately, by the time that the lipoatrophy becomes clinically evident, the patient has already lost significant amount of subcutaneous fat; so it does make sense to wonder if you should proactively switch before this complication becomes clinically visible.

Several nucleosides available have been associated with less chances of lipoatrophy. For patients taking either zidovudine (AZT, Retrovir) or stavudine (d4T, Zerit) switching to another nucleoside such as tenofovir (Viread) or abacavir (Ziagen) have been proven in most patients to prevent further lipoatrophy progression and sometimes even revert some of the lipoatrophic changes already established. In those studies most of the patients that switched to these nucleosides did very well on their new regimen and were able to maintain virologic suppression.

I will remind you that taking Combivir and Sustiva is much better than not taking anything at all. But if you have the resources to switch the zidovudine to one of those nucleosides, you are probably heading on the right track. Good luck!

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