Arch Intern Med 2002 Dec 9-23;162(22):2621-8
Institute of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University of Milan, "L Sacco" Hospital, Via G. B. Grassi, 74 20157 Milan, Italy.
Background: Adipose tissue alterations (ATAs) are a frequent untoward effect of antiretroviral therapy, the causes of which remain incompletely explained.
Objectives: To assess the incidence of ATAs and to identify the associated risk factors in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 starting their first-line antiretroviral treatment.
Methods: In a multicenter investigation designed to study issues related to the treatment of patients starting antiretroviral therapy, physicians were requested to assess the presence of ATAs at enrollment and every 6 months thereafter. The ATAs were considered altogether and grouped as fat loss (lipoatrophy), adipose tissue accumulation (lipohypertrophy), and combined forms.
Results: A total of 655 patients were followed up for a median of 86 weeks; 128 patients (19.6%) were diagnosed as having at least 1 morphologic alteration during the study. Female gender and positivity for hepatitis C virus were independently linked to an increased risk of developing morphologic alterations. Age was another independent correlate of risk of developing ATAs. To have been infected through drug injection was a correlate of reduced risk of ATAs. Stavudine exposure was predictive at borderline statistical significance of lipoatrophy (but not of the other forms), and indinavir exposure was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing combined forms. Patients who started therapy with 2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and subsequently added a protease inhibitor during the follow-up had a significantly higher risk of having ATAs compared with patients who continued taking 2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors up to the end of follow-up.
Conclusions: Different types of ATAs might derive from distinct pathways and multifactorial causes. Adipose tissue alterations are a frequent and relatively early finding during first-line antiretroviral therapy.