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Study shows diabetes drug eases lipodystrophy symptoms

Study shows diabetes drug eases lipodystrophy symptoms

The diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) might help reduce body fat redistribution and diabetes-like metabolic changes that can occur when patients are on certain HIV antiretroviral drug cocktails, say U.S. researchers. Highly active antiretroviral therapy, which helps keep HIV-infected patients alive and healthy, can have severe side effects for those taking the drugs. A team from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that daily doses of GlaxoSmithKline's Avandia helped HIV-positive adults better handle naturally occurring insulin. "The metabolic complications of this condition are becoming more significant as patients spend more time on HAART," said lead author Colleen Hadigan. "For example, we now know that 14% of men on this therapy may develop type-2 diabetes, which is four times the usual risk; and concerns are also increasing about the related risk of heart disease." Hadigan and colleagues studied 27 patients who were randomly assigned to take either Avandia or a placebo for three months. Patients who received Avandia had a 20% improvement in insulin sensitivity--a measure of a patient's risk of diabetes. "We were able to demonstrate that this class of agents can slow down or reverse fat loss in patients with fat atrophy," Hadigan said. "However, there are still a lot of questions to be answered about safety before these results can be widely applied." The study, titled "Metabolic Effects of Rosiglitazone in HIV Lipodystrophy," appears in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. (Reuters)

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