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Original Article

Body fat changes among antiretroviral-naive patients on PI- and NNRTI-based HAART in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study

Jim Young, Martin Rickenbach, Rainer Weber, Hansjakob Furrer, Enos Bernasconi, Bernard Hirschel, Philip E Tarr, Pietro Vernazza, Manuel Battegay, Heiner C Bucher, the Swiss HIV Cohort Study

Corresponding author name: Jim Young
Corresponding author e-mail: jyoung@uhbs.ch

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2005; 10:73-81


Background: Body fat changes are common in patients with HIV. For patients on protease inhibitor (PI)-based highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), these changes have been associated with increasing exposure to therapy in general and to stavudine in particular. Our objective is to show whether such associations are more or less likely for patients on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based HAART.

Methods: We included all antiretroviral-naive patients in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study starting HAART after April 2000 who had had body weight, CD4 cell count and plasma HIV RNA measured between 6 months before and 3 months after starting HAART, and at least one assessment of body fat changes after starting HAART. At visits scheduled every 6 months, fat loss or fat gain is reported by agreement between patient and physician. We estimate the association between reported body fat changes and both time on therapy and time on stavudine, using conditional logistical regression.

Results: Body fat changes were reported for 85 (9%) out of 925 patients at their first assessment; a further 165 had only one assessment. Of the remaining 675 patients, body fat changes were reported for 156 patients at a rate of 13.2 changes per 100 patient-years. Body fat changes are more likely with increasing age [odds ratio (OR) 1.18 (1.00–1.38) per 10 years], with increasing BMI [OR 1.06 (1.01–1.11)] and in those with a lower baseline CD4 cell count [OR 0.91 (0.83–1.01) per 100 cells/μl]. There is only weak evidence that body fat changes are more likely with increasing time on HAART [OR 1.16 (0.93–1.46)]. After adjusting for time on HAART, fat loss is more likely with increasing stavudine use [OR 1.70 (1.34–2.15)]. There is no evidence of an association between reported fat changes and time on NNRTI therapy relative to PI therapy in those patients who used either one therapy or the other [OR 0.98 (0.56–1.63)].

Conclusion: Fat loss is more likely to be reported with increasing exposure to stavudine. We find no evidence of major differences between PI and NNRTI therapy in the risk of reported body fat changes.


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