A new drug that treats the excess abdominal fat caused by antiretroviral drugs recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, announced EMD Serono, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA of Germany.
The drug, called EGRIFTA, would be the first and only treatment for excess abdominal-specific lipodystrophy, a side effect of HIV drugs that causes abnormalities in body fat distribution. EGRIFTA, to be used as an injection, could be available for use by January 2011, says EMD Serono spokeswoman Renee Connolly. Addressing whether it would be covered by health insurance carriers, Connolly says, "There's good data out there that says lipodystrophy is a medical condition (as opposed to a cosmetic concern). Patient access is important to the company and we're working to make sure patients who need EGRIFTA get it."
In clinical trials, EGRIFTA demonstrated significant decreases in the waist circumference of HIV patients.