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Another Neuropathy Question?
Jul 3, 2002

Hello again. Curious if Neuroapathy is a side effect of certain anti-viral drugs ( Zerit, etc.) and neuropathy is caused by a damage or breakdown of the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves and though the first place it is usually felt is in the feet and may progress to the hands any reason to believe that only the Perphrial nerves will be affected how can the drug detect periphrial nerves and cranial , facial etc.. Nerves. With recent light shed on the effect of Zerit on the mitochondria is it a long jump assumption to imagine that the entire nervous system could and in time will be affected?? And of course the response must include it is not clear if all neuropathy is caused by medication or the virus its self Lets for this example assume it caused by certain medication. Hope to hear from you if you have the opportunity. Thanks Allan.

Response from Dr. Boyle

The mechanism for the neuropathy that results from certain antiretrovirals is unknown, but demyelination is not a major feature. It generally does not involve other nerves or cause central nervous system disease regardless of the time of exposure (although the peripheral neuropathy may continue to worsen) and the peripheral neuropathy usually signficantly decreases if the drugs causing it are stopped. Mitochondrial toxicity is one theory regarding how antiretrovirals cause peripheral neuropathy but this is not settled yet. There have been reports of extremely rare neuromuscular toxicity associated with antiretrovirals but the incidence and cause of this is unknown.

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