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Does AZT contribute to facial wasting?
Jun 4, 2004


I am currently on Viread and Trizavir. I have been dealing with the fat loss problem for 5 years. My Dr. says this combo has the least side effects. But my skin gets thinner and thinner and I look tired all the time. Is removing AZT going to help?? Maybe switching it out for something else?? I take many antioxidants, vitamins, etc. Are there any effective things out there to regain the fat??

Thanks. G from Miami

Response from Dr. Henry

On a relative scale compared to say the D drugs AZT appears to cause less fat loss but it still happens. Although I have lots of patients in Trizivir/Viread like yourself (simple and avoiding toxicities associated with the other classes of drugs) I am still conccern the use of 4 NRTIs might add up to alot of pressure on the mitochondrial system over the long term--we don't have much info on that yet. Regaining fat in the face is a challenge. Other factors such as age, duration of HIV infection, how low the CD4 count went--may also factor in to the risk. A few of my patients have been able to afford Nu-Fill injections--many of my favorite long surviving patients have severe facial lipoatrophy which is very frustrating. No easy answers on the horizon at the moment for a reversal but the topic is getting lots of attention so I hope there will be some better options in the future. KH


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