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The flip side of AIDS cocktails – HAART regime damages live

HIV infected patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART regime) are forced to stop the treatment because of the toxic side effects of the treatment, which causes liver damage. According to a study led by Dr. Raymond T. Chung, who presented the findings at Digestive Disease Week in Atlanta last week, severe liver toxicity forced almost one in every four patients to stop the treatment.

Regimens that contained drugs called nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, especially nevirapine and efavirenz, were particularly hard on the liver, Chung and colleagues found. In more than 25% of the cases the HAART regime cost elevation of liver enzymes to more than five times the upper limit of normal resulting in severe liver toxicity.

The drug cocktails have however clearly improved the condition of the patient in terms of controlling the HIV disease but the side effects on liver forced many to stop treatment. Dr. Chung said the next step would be to see if there are factors that may help doctors predict which HIV infected patients are most at risk for severe liver toxicity with HAART. The idea would be to single out those patients who require close monitoring.


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