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Anorexia/cachexia in patients with HIV: lessons for the oncologist.


Oncology (Huntingt). 1996 Jul;10(7):1049-56; discussion 1062-4, 1067-8.

Early intervention and attention to nutritional status are essential in patients with cachexia. Identification of reversible causes of decreased energy intake and/or weight loss is the first step in treatment. When such factors cannot be identified, pharmacologic interventions should be considered. To date, megestrol acetate is the most effective appetite stimulant. Appetite and weight gain occur to a greater and more rapid degree as megestrol dose increases. Unfortunately, the weight gain is due predominantly to an increase in fat mass. Whether this is due to a lack of exercise in the face of increased caloric intake and/or to the hypogonadal effects of megestrol acetate is being tested in ongoing clinical trials. Anabolic agents, particularly growth hormone, are exciting potential therapies. No data are yet available on alternate doses and schedules of growth hormone or on its effect in patients with decreased oral intake. Current studies addressing combination therapy with anabolic agents and appetite stimulants should clarify their respective therapeutic roles.

Adipose Tissue/DRUG EFFECTS Anabolic Steroids/THERAPEUTIC USE Anorexia/*ETIOLOGY Appetite/DRUG EFFECTS Appetite Stimulants/ADMINISTRATION & DOSAGE/THERAPEUTIC USE Cachexia/*ETIOLOGY Drug Combinations Energy Intake Exercise Human HIV Infections/*COMPLICATIONS Medical Oncology Megestrol Acetate/ADMINISTRATION & DOSAGE/THERAPEUTIC USE Neoplasms/*COMPLICATIONS Nutritional Status Somatropin/THERAPEUTIC USE Weight Gain/DRUG EFFECTS Weight Loss JOURNAL ARTICLE REVIEW REVIEW, TUTORIAL


Information in this article was accurate in February 28, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.