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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Lipid-Lowering Drug Use Rising in PI-Treated HIV Patients

October 17, 2003
AIDS Weekly (09.29.03) - Friday, October 17, 2003

Use of lipid-lowering therapy (LLT) is rising among HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy, despite limited evidence of their benefits in this population, a recent study noted. Many patients receiving protease inhibitors (PIs) develop hyperlipidemia, which may increase the risk of future coronary events, study author J. H. Stein and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin explained.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of HIV- positive adults registered in the Medicaid of California (MEDI- CAL) database to estimate "the changing prevalence of lipid- lowering therapy (LLT) in patients with HIV, and to evaluate its association with the use of HIV PIs" from January 1996 to June 2002. The scientists found that in patients taking PIs for HIV, LLT prevalence increased more than sixfold, at a faster rate than for HIV patients not on PIs as well as for patients in the general population. This occurred despite the fact that "it has not been proved that use of LLT in HIV-infected patients taking PIs improves survival," the study said.

The report, "Increased Use of Lipid-Lowering Therapy in Patients Receiving Human Immunodeficiency Virus Protease Inhibitors," appeared in the American Journal of Cardiology (2003;92(3):270-274).

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