February 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 - sgoodwi@emory.edu
Holly Korschun, 404/727-3990 -- hkorsch@emory.edu
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 - covnic@emory.edu

CHICAGO -- Researchers at Emory have observed and recorded data on HIV-positive adults who developed unusual deposits of fat, resembling a condition called benign symmetric lipomatosis, while undergoing protease inhibitor therapy. Benign symmetric lipomatosis is characterized by abnormal accumulations of unencapsulated fat over the shoulders and neck. This uncommon condition is observed primarily in men who abuse alcohol, but can also be associated with glucose intolerance and elevated blood lipids.

The study, led by Emory University researcher Richard L. Hengel, M.D., identified five men and one woman who had been on protease inhibitor therapy for a median of six months. All the patients had received indinavir, four in combination with zidovudine/lamivudine, one with delavirdine/lamivudine, and one with nevarapine/zalcitabine. None had a history of alcoholism or an increase in alcohol intake. All the patients developed a "buffalo hump," and the one woman in the study had an increase in breast size and in abdominal girth in addition to a "buffalo hump." One patient had elevated glucose levels and two had slightly elevated triglyceride levels.

The research was presented at the 5th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Chicago February 1-5. A single case study also was reported in the Nov. 22, 1997 issue of the British medical journal The Lancett.

According to The Lancet report, previous research suggests that protease inhibitors can affect both lipid metabolism and glucose intolerance.


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