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HIV Clin Trials. 2007 Sep-Oct;8(5):337-44.

Stavudine but not didanosine as part of HAART contributes to peripheral lipoatrophy: a substudy from the Antiretroviral Regimen Evaluation Study (ARES).

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  • 1International Antiviral Therapy Evaluation Center (IATEC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To objectively assess changes in body fat distribution in a subgroup of antiretroviral therapy-naïve participants in a randomized comparative trial of regimens including a nucleoside analogue backbone of didanosine with either lamivudine or stavudine.


Whole body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans were performed at baseline and weeks 48 and 96 of therapy in all 19 patients from one of the sites participating in the Antiretroviral Regimen Evaluation Study (ARES). Patients had been randomized to receive nelfinavir/didanosine/stavudine (n = 8), nevirapine/didanosine/lamivudine (n = 7), or ritonavir-boosted saquinavir/didanosine/lamivudine (n = 4).


In an intent-to-treat analysis, patients allocated to didanosine plus stavudine-containing treatment after 96 weeks had lost a median of 1,825 g (-26%) of total limb fat, as compared to a median gain of 1,639 (48%) and 403 (6%) g in those randomized to the didanosine/lamivudine plus nevirapine or saquinavir-containing regimens, respectively. These changes in limb fat were statistically significantly different when comparing patients allocated to stavudine-containing treatment with both of the other two treatment arms combined (p = .01).


This study suggests that didanosine/lamivudine, when combined with either nevirapine or ritonavir-boosted saquinavir over 96 weeks of therapy, is possibly not associated with limb fat atrophy, in contrast to when treatment contained didanosine, stavudine, and nelfinavir combined.

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