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AIDS. 2000 Mar 10;14(4):F63-7.

Accelerated bone mineral loss in HIV-infected patients receiving potent antiretroviral therapy.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.



The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been associated with multiple metabolic complications whose pathogenesis is poorly understood at the present time.


We performed a cross-sectional analysis of whole-body, lumbar spine (L1-L4) and proximal femur bone mineral density in 112 male subjects (HIV-infected patients on HAART that included a protease inhibitor, HIV-infected patients not receiving a protease inhibitor and healthy seronegative adults) using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.


Men receiving protease inhibitors had a higher incidence of osteopenia and osteoporosis according to World Health Organization definitions: relative risk = 2.19 (95% confidence interval 1.13-4.23) (P = 0.02). Subjects receiving protease inhibitors had greater central: appendicular adipose tissue ratios than the other two groups (P < 0.0001). There was no relationship between the central: appendicular fat ratio and the lumbar spine or proximal femur bone mineral density t- or z- scores, suggesting that osteoporosis and body fat redistribution are independent side effects of HAART.


Osteopenia and osteoporosis are unique metabolic complications associated with protease inhibitor-containing potent antiretroviral regimens, that appear to be independent of adipose tissue maldistribution.

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