Dec 23, 2008
Dear Dr. Henry:
I have a general question about a topic that I have heard some HIV "experts" speak about, namely "detoxifying" particularly with reference to the liver which I understand plays a major role in the biotransformation of drugs through various complex biochemical pathways. Often these experts speak of using various natural health products such as milk thistle or silymarin. My question concerns the current medical standard of care in the treatment of HIV infection in the developed world, and drug toxicity. I have looked at the DHHS Guidelines and have not seen any discussion of "detoxification" regimens for antiretroviral therapy. Would any additional agents or natural health products be useful for "detoxification" or is this even something that medical science would address? I have a reference text, Principles of Medical Pharmacology (Kalant, Roschlau, Oxford University Press) that I purchased at a thrift store and that has a chapter entitled, "Principles of Toxicity", but the information is quite advanced and any comments that you could offer would be most appreciated. Please accept my best wishes for a happy holiday season and all the best in 2009.
Wayne Stump Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Response from Dr. Henry
Despite many claims liver detoxification regimens have not been shown to be safe or effective for a range of conditions including related to HIV or possible drug side effects though often simply not properly tested. See http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/detox.html from web ssite quack watch. KH
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