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Drug that reduces abdominal fat in HIV patients also may reduce fat in liver
Date:7/19/2014

The only drug to receive FDA approval for reduction of the abdominal fat deposits that develop in some patients receiving antiviral therapy for HIV infection may also reduce the incidence of fatty liver disease in such patients. In a paper that will appear in the July 23/28 issue of JAMA a theme issue on HIV/AIDS receiving early online release to coincide with the International AIDS Conference Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators report that daily injections of tesamorelin significantly reduced fat in the liver without affecting glucose metabolism.

"Tesamorelin's ability to reduce liver fat in conjunction with the reduction of abdominal fat may be clinically important for patients with HIV infection who have fatty liver disease along with increased abdominal fat," says Steven Grinspoon, MD, of the MGH Neuroendocrine Unit and Program in Nutrition Metabolism, the study's senior author. "While some patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease have a benign course, others may develop a more serious condition involving liver inflammation, cellular damage and fibrosis, which can progress to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease or to liver cancer."

Between 30 and 40 percent of HIV-infected patients develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), often but not always in conjunction with lipodystrophy, the abnormal abdominal fat accumulation that develops in 20 to 30 percent of patients receiving antiretroviral drugs. Tesamorelin stimulates the body's release of growth hormone, which is reduced in HIV lipodystrophy, and several studies by Grinspoon's team and others led to the 2010 approval of the drug to treat the lipodystrophy.

In designing the current study, the MGH team originally planned to further investigate tesamorelin's effects on abdominal fat with a secondary focus on fat in the liver and muscle, and on markers of inflammation and cardiovascular risk. But since several studies suggested a signific
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Contact: Cassandra Aviles
cmaviles@partners.org
617-724-6433
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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