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HIV Facial Wasting Causes

The exact causes of Facial Wasting are not fully understood.

However, a number of studies suggest that mitochondrial toxicity involving superficial adipose (fat) cells may underlie facial wasting causes.

Certain HIV medications have been linked to lipoatrophy.
Zidovudine (AZT, Retrovir), stavudine (Zerit), didanosine (ddI, Videx) have been identified as the agents with the greatest risk of producing facial lipoatrophy. Zidovudine is also a component in the combination products Combivir and Trizivir.

Prevention/Treatment Options
Avoiding use of agents that are linked to lipoatrophy is a prudent strategy and most front-line regimens do not include there medications. There are studies that have shown improvement of lipoatrophy when these medication were stopped and patients were switched to an alternative medication.

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4 Stages of Lipoatrophy

average face

NORMAL

MILD FACIAL WASTING

MILD LIPOATROPHY

MODERATE FACIAL WASTING

MODERATE LIPOATROPHY

SEVERE FACIAL WASTING

SEVERE LIPOATROPHY