Reversibility of lipoatrophy in HIV-infected patients 2 years after switching from a thymidine analogue to abacavir

the MITOX Extension Study

Allison Martin*, Don E. Smith, Andrew Carr, Clare Ringland, Janaki Amin, Sean Emery, Jennifer Hoy, Cassy Workman, Nicholas Doong, Judith Freund, David A. Cooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

284 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine if long-term improvement in HIV lipoatrophy can be attained by substitution of thymidine analogues zidovudine (ZDV) or stavudine (d4T) with abacavir (ABC). Design: Long-term follow-up (104 weeks) of a randomized, open-label study. Setting: Seventeen ambulatory HIV clinics in Australia and London. Subjects: Patients with HIV lipodystrophy were randomized to switch from a thymidine analogue to ABC, while continuing all other antiretroviral therapy (ABC arm) (n = 42) or continue current therapy (ZDV/d4T arm) (n = 43). Intervention: At week 24, all control patients could switch to ABC. Of the original 111 patients randomized, 85 had long-term follow-up data, with 77 having imaging data available at 104 weeks. Main outcome measure: The primary endpoint was time-weighted change in limb fat mass, measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Results: At week 104, the mean increase in limb fat for the ABC and ZDV/d4T group was 1.26 ± 2.02 kg and 0.49 ± 1.38 kg, respectively. The time-weighted change for limb fat was significantly different between the two arms (0.43 kg; P = 0.008). On-treatment analysis demonstrated a trend for increased limb fat in patients in the ABC arm. Visceral fat accumulation, buffalo hump, self-assessed lipodystrophy or the lipodystrophy case definition score (LCDS) did not improve. Conclusions: In patients with moderate-to-severe lipodystrophy, significant improvements in subcutaneous fat continued over 104 weeks after switching from a thymidine analogue to ABC. Nevertheless, the lipodystrophy syndrome was still evident, indicating additional strategies need evaluating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1036
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Abacavir
  • HIV lipodystrophy
  • Lipoatrophy
  • Thymidine analogues

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