A Reprieve for Ziagen?

BY HIV Plus Editors

October 29 2009 12:00 AM ET

Previous research has suggested the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor abacavir, found in Ziagen and the combination pills Epzicom and Trizivir, boosts risks for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. But a new analysis of nearly 20,000 HIVers from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration's Clinical Case Registry has raised doubts about the earlier studies' conclusions.

It found instead that many of the heart attacks reported among Ziagen users may have been caused by other common cardiac risk factors, like smoking, or by other ailments that can affect the heart, such as hepatitis C and kidney disease.

"The association of abacavir use with [acute myocardial infarction] was much weaker after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors," the researchers conclude.

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