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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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Lipodystrophy and HIV

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Lipodystrophy Treatment

You may benefit from doing the following:

Changing HIV drugs. Do not stop taking medications without talking with your doctor. Recent studies have shown fewer links between lipodystrophy and HIV drugs. However, your doctor may recommend medication changes.

Exercising and making healthy food choices. These changes may help you to build muscle and reduce fat buildup. Exercise can improve insulin sensitivity. Both aerobic exercise and resistance exercises can increase strength and cardiovascular health. Both can reduce abdominal fat. Do not attempt rapid weight loss.

Taking medications. You may need medication to treat lipodystrophy or disorders associated with the condition.

  • Egrifta is FDA approved to treat lipodystrophy. It's given by daily injection. Side effects include include joint pain, redness and rash at the site of injection, stomach pain, swelling, and muscle pain. The drug may also cause increases in blood sugar.
  • If you have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance, your doctor may prescribe Glucophage. A serious side effect of Glucophage is lactic acidosis, a buildup of lactate in the body.
  • If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as Lipitor.

Considering other options. The FDA has not yet approved most of these treatments for lipodystrophy:

  • Hormone treatments (such as testosterone and human growth hormone)
  • Cosmetic implants or injections of synthetic material to fill out sunken cheeks. Sculptra and Radiesse are the only products approved specifically for facial fat wasting. It increases skin thickness in the areas where it is injected.
  • Surgery to remove fat deposits

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on July 27, 2014
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