Sure HIV Meds Might Set off Weight Acquire

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A generally prescribed part of the life-saving antiretroviral drug cocktails used to deal with HIV could set off weight acquire, new analysis warns.

The priority stems from monitoring sufferers taking antiretroviral remedy (ART). Because the mid-Nineties, the remedy has relied on varied drug combos to basically outwit HIV, controlling viral hundreds and turning a once-deadly an infection right into a manageable situation.

However the brand new analysis is elevating questions on one drug featured in lots of ART recipes: tenofovir alafenamide, also called TAF.

There is not any query that TAF works. The researchers famous that it’s each efficient and well-tolerated. And TAF has gained recognition in recent times as a result of it poses much less threat to kidney and bone well being than one other remedy, known as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF).

However the brand new research discovered that over 18 months, sufferers on an antiretroviral routine containing TAF gained practically 4 kilos on common, in comparison with about 1.5 kilos amongst sufferers on drug cocktails containing TDF.


That resulted in practically 14% of regular weight TAF customers changing into obese or overweight, in contrast with simply over 8% of their TDF counterparts, the findings confirmed.

“TDF and TAF are common parts of these combo drugs and most ART regimens,” stated Dr. Michael Horberg, director of Kaiser Permanente’s division of HIV/AIDS and STDs. “That’s why this study is so important.”

Horberg, who was not concerned with the research however reviewed the findings, identified that each medication are additionally a part of most so-called PrEP regimens. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)is designed to forestall HIV infections from taking maintain within the first place, “so an even greater number of people [are] maybe using it for that,” he stated.

Horberg stated the newer TAF remedy has been thought to be “the answer” to the principle drawback with the older TDF drug, which raised creatinine ranges in some sufferers, an indicator of worsening kidney operate.

“And, in the most part, that’s true,” Horberg stated.

He stated the brand new research is crucial, nonetheless, as a result of weight acquire and worsening lipid ranges are “not small issues either.” Lipids are fatty substances that may construct up and clog arteries.


Most individuals do not wish to acquire weight due to remedy, “and rising lipids can be associated with cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes), which we want to prevent in people with HIV also,” Horberg stated.

For the research, a staff led by Dr. Bernard Surial of Bern College Hospital in Switzerland, reviewed weight acquire knowledge collected from greater than 3,400 Swiss HIV sufferers between 2016 and 2019.

All had been taking an antiretroviral cocktail containing the older TDF drug for no less than six months, earlier than switching to an ART routine containing the newer TAF drug.

Weight acquire amongst sufferers who made the swap was then stacked up towards practically 900 sufferers who caught with TDF throughout 18 months of monitoring.

In that point, the researchers discovered that not solely had been weight positive aspects way more vital amongst TAF customers, however so had been rises of their ldl cholesterol and triglyceride ranges, which might sign elevated threat of coronary heart bother.

Horberg stated the findings come as little shock.


“Our patients were noticing this weight gain before we were,” he stated. “And we used to say ‘oh, it’s not the meds. You’re just eating more because you’re doing better.’ Well, we now know that’s not true. And if they weren’t having any kidney problems, we may have been trying to fix a problem that didn’t exist” in switching therapies.

So what does this imply for remedy choices going ahead?

“Frankly, this has to be done on a case-by-case basis,” Horberg stated.

One consideration is cash, he famous, as TDF is now a generic remedy and less expensive than TAF.

“We want everyone to have these medications available, including for PrEP,” Horberg stated. “But weight gain is a serious issue, and many patients do not like how it makes them feel or look,” PrEP takers included.

If weight acquire is because of the remedy, they will cease taking it, Horberg stated, so a steadiness should be struck. If there are kidney issues, it is essential to modify. If not, docs ought to focus on the pluses and minuses of any change with their sufferers, he urged.


Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, a fellow on the Infectious Illnesses Society of America, and chairman of the HIV Drugs Affiliation, additionally reviewed the research findings.

“This weight gain difference is something we pay attention to because we’re trying to keep people healthy for decades, not for years,” Gandhi stated.

The medicines that revolutionized HIV remedy within the mid-Nineties successfully obtained the virus beneath management, however they do not remove it. Meaning as soon as a affected person begins taking ART meds, they proceed for the remainder of their lives, making unwanted effects a priority, he defined.

“Today, there are far fewer side effects than when ART came on the scene,” Gandhi stated. “And the weight gain found among those taking the newer formulation of tenofovir was relatively small. And not everyone was affected. But there was a difference.”

For sufferers with borderline kidney illness or osteoporosis, the brand new components has lots of benefits, Gandhi stated, including that extra analysis into weight acquire issues is required.


Within the meantime, selections about which formulation to make use of must be based mostly on a dialogue with every affected person’s well being care supplier “and decided case by case,” he stated.

The research was printed on-line March 16 within the Annals of Inside Drugs.

Extra data

Study extra about antiretroviral remedy on the U.S. Nationwide Institutes of Well being.

SOURCES: Michael Horberg, MD, MAS, director, HIV/AIDS and STDs, Kaiser Permanente and Care Administration Institute, Rockville, Md.; Rajesh Gandhi, MD, chair and fellow, Infectious Illnesses Society of America, and chair, HIV Drugs Affiliation; Annals of Inside Drugs, March 16, 2021, on-line

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