Mitochondria - one more time.
Apr 9, 2007
I am sending you these two questions on behalf of two very good friends of mine.
In regard to those HIV meds that "do" cause damage to the mitochondria - how long (in months or years) does it take for the damage to become irreparable?
What are the known consequences medically to the patient if the mitochondria is damaged beyond repair?
I thank you in advance for any answers you can send my way in this regard.
Response from Dr. Conway
The only drugs that have any significant effect on the mitochondria appear to be the nucleoside analogues. Among them, stavudine and didanosine are the major culprits, especicially if they are used in combination. Zidovudine probably also has significant effect here. Some of the toxicity can be seen very quickly and can affect internal organs such as the liver. Other toxicity accumulates over many months, and shows up as muscle aches and fatigue. Most of the toxicity is always reversible. However, in rare cases, especially in the acute setting, the toxicity can be fatal.
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