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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Lipoatrophy or Nephrotoxicity?
Oct 26, 2010

I've been hiv + for about 2 years, and I'm on treatment for 3 months. I'm using the following combination: Tenofovir + Lamivudine + Efavirenz. Tenofovir is recognized for haven a lower risk of lipoatrophy, but, it can be toxic for the kidneys. Since the available biomarkers for kidney health just begin to have alteration when there is already irreversible lesion, wouldn't it be prudent to change for a Kidney-friendly medication? Would abacavir be these kidney-friendly and fat-friendly medication?

I would like to thank you for your great work Keith Henry and for the attention given to my question!

Response from Dr. Henry

The risk for severe kidney damage from tenofovir appears low overall over the first 5+ years of use though risk is higher if other risk factors for kidney disease exist (ie hypertension or diabetes). The risk of lipoatrophy for tenofovir is modest to low and similar overall to risk seen with abacavir. Risk for kidney disease for abacavir is lower than with tenofovir so use of abacavir is considered in persons with pre-existing kidney damage or high risk for kidney disease. Controversy exists over issue of whether there is increased risk for heart disease with abacavir (as opposed to risk with tenofovir) so the choice between those two drugs often needs to individualized after overall health assessment. KH

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