Apr 11, 2007
I've been POZ for over 14 years. My diabetes was found a couple of years ago after several years of HAART. Doctors seem to treat my diabetes just as they would for any 'regular' diabetic. I've become highly insulin resistant even though I'm on two types of insulin (humalog and lantus) along with pills (glipiside). With diabetes being a known side effect of protease it would appear that taking my HIV drugs just continues to cause problems with my diabetes. It would make for a viscous circle as the HIV drugs aggravate the diabetic problems. Currently Reyataz, Norvir, Viread and Combivir make up my drug regiment. I saw a response in 2002 from Dr. Keith Henry in 2002 Protease inhibitors can cause insulin resistance quickly but often that effect is reversed after they are stopped. It sounds like your pancreas is having a hard time producing insulin and/or you have developed some degree of insulin resistance. What role protease inhibitors may play in that is still a topic of debate and study. KH Has anything changed in the 4 years since his response in regards to the treatment of diabetics and their continued use of HIV drugs?
Response from Dr. Henry
Many of the protease inhibitors used 4-5 years ago had more of a tendency to aggravate insulin resistance then more contempary regimens used today in the US. There likely is a variation from person to person in whether certain HIV drugs trigger insulin resistance that is due to genetic factors. Atazanavir generally has had a fairly clean metabolic profile. Norvir boosting can aggravate diabetes in a small subset of patients but is needed when atazanavir is used with tenofovir. Some patients can switch from tenofovir to an alternative drug like abacavir and then do OK stopping the Norvir and dose adjusting the atazanavir. That may help the metabolic picture some patients. Diabetes is a major challenge in the general population with increasing prevalence so it can be tough to sort out the contributions of a particular drug in the background of polypharmacy and other potential risk factors (again including genetics). The vast majority of my HIV + patients with diabetics are being successfully co-managed (continuing their antiretroviral treatment) with some benefiting from changing their HIV meds around to find a better metabolic fit. KH
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