This is a brief review of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated wasting with expanded discussion of one treatment agent, oxandrolone. HIV-associated wasting is the involuntary loss of more than 10% of baseline body weight in the presence of chronic diarrhea, weakness, or fever lasting longer than 30 days. For patients, this clinical syndrome has special importance because it affects not only their survival but also their physical appearance and social interactions. Pharmacologic treatment is only one of the many approaches that need to be explored in every patient who presents with this condition. In 1964, oxandrolone became the first drug approved for the treatment of wasting. Since then its role has expanded to HIV-associated wasting. As an anabolic agent oxandrolone reverses many of the metabolic abnormalities characteristic of HIV-associated wasting leading to dose dependent increase in nitrogen retention. Similar to many other HIV treatments, gaps exist in our knowledge of the role of oxandrolone in HIV-associated wasting. These gaps will be filled only by years of field exposure and further clinical research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases