July/August #156 : The Heart of the Matter - by Laura Whitehorn

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Table of Contents

Child, Alive

In the Eye of the Beholder

Troubled Minds

Be a Brainiac

Family Planning

The Heart of the Matter

Med Alert

Hep C


Kombucha Tea to...Gila Monster Spit?

Cool Veggies, Hot Flavors

Hand to Mouth

Bar Resistance

Provide and Conquer

Good Habits

Summer Musts!

Breaking Barriers


Maybe Baby

Editor's Letter-July/August 2009

Your Feedback-July/August 2009

No Child Left Behind

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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July / August 2009

The Heart of the Matter

by Laura Whitehorn

If you take the HIV med abacavir (found in Ziagen, Epzicom and Trizivir) and you’ve seen the news reports linking the drug to a heightened risk of heart attack, we have a reminder for you: Even with the increased risk, the actual danger of heart attack remains low.

Experts still don’t know why abacavir seems to raise heart-attack risk—it could be blood vessel inflammation, a blood clotting problem or something else. And the drug’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, says it hasn’t seen a rise in heart-attack risk in any of the company’s own abacavir studies.

Marshall Glesby, MD, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, says, “The risk is more of an issue in people with major risk factors for heart disease. In the big picture,” he advises, “people with modifiable heart-disease risk factors like smoking should pay attention to those, which almost certainly pose more of a risk to their health than taking abacavir.”

All this news may make your heart beat faster, but know this as well: HIV itself seems to cause more thickening of certain blood vessel walls (a cause of heart disease) than antiretroviral drugs do. Studies have shown (and you’ve read about them here) that taking HIV meds continuously resulted in less heart disease than not taking the meds.

Search: abacavir, heart attack, antiretroviral drugs

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