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Givin' Me a Heart Attack

Givin' Me a Heart Attack


Many treatment specialists have long believed that some anti-HIV meds increase heart attack risks, and now research in the journal The Lancet backs them up. A huge study of more than 33,000 HIVers in the United States, Europe, and Australia has shown that Ziagen, one of the most commonly prescribed antiretrovirals, nearly doubles a patient's risk for a heart attack. For patients without known cardiac risks, the baseline chance of having a heart attack ranged from 1% to 5%; when Ziagen was taken, their risk rose to between 2% and 7%. For men over 40 who smoked and were overweight, Ziagen boosted the risk of a heart attack from 20% to nearly 40%. The study also showed that Videx increased cardiac risks by 50%. One bit of good news: Increased heart attack risks disappeared six months after HIVers stopped taking the two drugs. And no increased risk of heart attacks was found with AZT, Zerit, or Epivir. While the researchers say doctors should be aware of the cardiac risks linked with Ziagen and Videx, the medications should not automatically be rejected as part of combination treatment, particularly for those who've successfully suppressed their HIV infections on regimens containing the drugs. 'No drug is risk-free,' says lead researcher Jens Lundgren of the University of Copenhagen. 'For all patients, it's a matter of finding the right balance.'

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