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Issue No. 52 | December 14, 2007

News and Features

Winter 2008 Issue of Mental Health AIDS Released

Biopsychosocial therapy involves assessing an individual patient's biological, psychological, and social condition to help determine the best treatment.

Mental Health AIDS is a quarterly biopsychosocial research update on HIV and mental health sponsored by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This publication is provided free of charge through the SAMHSA Web site in both PDF and HTML formats.

The Winter 2008 issue features the "For Whom the Tell Tolls: Curbing the Cost of Giving & Getting Distressing, HIV-Related News" Tool Box. This tool box is the first part of a two-part series. Part 1 addresses the terminology used to describe how clinicians are thought to be affected by their work with trauma survivors. This section also summarizes literature on approaches to recognizing and alleviating the dangers facing clinicians practicing trauma-related psychotherapy.

Experimental Treatment Reduces Effects of Lipodystrophy

An investigational drug, tesamorelin, has been identified as a potential new treatment for HIV-infected individuals who suffer from lipodystrophy. The condition, associated with the use of protease inhibitors (PIs) and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), causes an increase in abdominal fat and can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tesamorelin induces the release of natural growth hormone, which works against the effects of lipodystrophy. In a randomized, Phase III trial, patients who received tesamorelin for 26 weeks lost an average of 15% of their abdominal fat, compared with a 5% gain of fat in the placebo group. Hyperglycemia, or abnormally high blood glucose levels, is also of concern to HIV-infected individuals taking PIs. This study also found that the drug improved lipid levels without affecting glucose or insulin levels. Larger, longer term studies are needed to confirm tesamorelin's effects on lipodystrophy.

  • MedlinePlus: Full story
  • PubMed: Tesamorelin study results from Falutz, et al.
  • AIDSinfo: Lipodystrophy fact sheet
  • AIDSinfo: Hyperglycemia fact sheet