There is an apparent link between taking Viread (tenofovir) and developing kidney damage among HIV-positive people with low body weight. Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, Japanese researchers conducted a cohort study of 792 treatment-naive people with HIV who started with an antiretroviral regimen that contained either Ziagen (abacavir) or Viread. The recruitment period lasted from 2004 to 2011, with follow-up continuing through 2013.

The study participants had a median weight of 139 pounds and a body mass index of 22. The majority of the participants were men and relatively young.

When compared with those on the Ziagen regimens, those taking Viread had more indications of kidney damage, as evidenced by abnormalities in three different tests of kidney function. Those taking Viread were 2.1 times more likely to experience higher than 10 milliliters per minute per 1.73 meters squared in eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate). They were also 2.1 times more likely to experience more than 25 percent reduction in eGFR. And they were 3.9 times more likely to experience eGFRs lower than 60 ml/min per 1.73 m^2 at least three months apart. The cumulative average greater loss in ml/min per 1.73 m^2 among those taking Viread, when compared with the Ziagen group, was a respective -3.8, -3.6, -5.5, -6.6 and -10.3 after 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years after beginning therapy.

To read the study, click here.