For years now, it has been clear that HIV-infected patients are especially prone to developing lipohypertrophy, an increase of fat in specific parts of their bodies. What has been less clear is exactly what options an HIV clinician has to treat lipohypertrophy in their HIV-infected patients.
A new option approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Nov. 10 may change that. Its name is Egrifta, known generically as tesamorelin. It is the first drug approved specifically for use by HIV-infected patients with lipohypertrophy. Egrifta doesn't treat all kinds of fat gain -- it focuses on visceral adiposity, or fat gain in the belly area -- but its approval is historic nonetheless.
Daniel Berger, M.D., has been one of the HIV clinicians involved in studies of Egrifta prior to its approval. He is the medical director and founder of NorthStar Medical Center in Chicago, as well as a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine. In this interview, he'll walk us through how Egrifta works, what patients are best suited to take it, and what else we know to date about the treatment of lipohypertrophy in HIV-infected patients.