Although HIV is now highly manageable, people living with the disease are still at a higher risk for certain health issues, in particular, cardiovascular disease. To reduce this risk, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Duke University are examining whether a medication called Pitavastatin can
prevent cardiovascular disease in people living with HIV.
Even though treatment works well to virally suppress HIV and stabilize the immune system, it cannot fully suppress chronic inflammation associated with the virus. Inflammation has a known cardiovascular connection and antiretroviral treatments that raise cholesterol increases those risks. Drugs known as statins, such as Lipitor, are used to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation, but because typical statins and HIV medications both use the same pathway in the body they can have the unintended impact
of making both drugs less effective.
Pitavastatin, however, uses a less crowded pathway and does not cause same drug interactions as other statins. Currently the clinical trial, called REPRIEVE, is recruiting people age 40-75, who have been on treatment for six months, and have no history of heart disease for trials in the U.S., Canada, Thailand, and Brazil. (For
more info, visit ReprieveTrial.org.)