The first-year costs to manage a single symptom of an increasingly common complication associated with HIV/AIDS therapy could range from $410 to $7,369 per patient, according to a pharmacoeconomic modeling study presented at the 40th annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC). Fat maldistribution and metabolic abnormalities (FMMA), often is referred to as "lipodystrophy syndrome," but currently there is no consensus among experts on whether this is a broad syndrome or multiple independent conditions.
Fat maldistribution in HIV-infected patients is a disorder characterized by the redistribution of body fat to places such as the stomach and the back of the neck, or wasting of fat from the arms, face or legs. Metabolic abnormalities include abnormally high lipid or glucose levels in the blood and insulin resistance. These metabolic disorders often are seen in combination with fat maldistribution, but they also may occur in patients with no noticeable changes in body fat.
Although the exact cause of FMMA is unknown, it has been associated with HIV/AIDS drug therapies. Approximately half of the patients taking protease inhibitors and 3 percent to 4 percent of patients taking other antiretroviral therapies will experience one or more symptoms, according to a modified Delphi panel of experts convened as part of the study presented today at ICAAC.
In general, physicians recommend diet modifications and exercise to treat the symptoms associated with FMMA. While there are clear guidelines for the treatment of metabolic abnormalities, currently there is a lack of effective therapeutic options for the treatment of fat maldistribution in HIV-infected patients. Additionally there is no standard of practice to diagnose and treat patients who present with these symptoms. The panel reported switching antiretroviral medications as a treatment method in about 17% of the patients experiencing fat maldistr
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