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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1994 Jul;7(7):681-94.

The HIV wasting syndrome: a review.

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Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland.


The HIV wasting syndrome and other HIV-associated weight loss is a major problem in HIV-infected patients. The available data strongly suggest that wasting is associated with decreased survival. It may also further impair immune function. A variety of etiologies probably contribute to this wasting, including hypermetabolism, alterations in metabolism, lessened oral intake, malabsorption, cytokine effects, and endocrine dysfunction. The relative contributions of each of these etiologies to wasting probably varies considerably from patient to patient. Successful treatment calls for identification of possible etiologies of wasting in the individual patient with AIDS. Further treatment may include treating underlying conditions and controlling such symptoms as diarrhea, nausea, or fever. Nutritional support, including both parenteral and enteral nutrition, has shown some promise of efficacy, and a variety of drugs appears to be helpful. Future treatment to reverse wasting may include the use of several of these agents in combination. Currently, there is much that clinicians can do to evaluate and treat the HIV wasting syndrome, with significant potential benefits to their patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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