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Tesamorelin Associated with Reduction in Visceral Fat

Growth hormone-releasing factor also linked to favorable lipid profile effects in HIV patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The growth hormone-releasing factor tesamorelin may be helpful in reducing visceral fat and improving lipid profiles in patients with HIV who are receiving antiretroviral therapy, according to research published in the Dec. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Julian Falutz, M.D., of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 412 HIV patients who were randomized to receive daily injections of tesamorelin or placebo for 26 weeks. Tesamorelin is a synthetic human growth hormone-releasing factor GHRH(1-44) analogue undergoing Phase III testing.

Visceral adipose tissue -- as measured by computed tomography -- decreased by 15.2 percent in the treatment group and increased by 5 percent in the placebo group. Favorable effects were also seen in reduction of triglycerides and total cholesterol, and elevation of HDL cholesterol and insulin-like growth factor I in the treatment group compared to placebo. However, more patients in the treatment group dropped out due to adverse events.

"Is there a role for tesamorelin or other growth hormone secretagogues in the treatment of patients with HIV lipodystrophy?" asks the author of an accompanying editorial. "This question is a compelling one, particularly because trials of other potential therapeutic approaches -- such as insulin sensitizers, hypolipidemic agents, exercise and diet -- have yielded inconclusive results."

Falutz has received consulting fees and grant support from Theratechnologies, the maker of tesamorelin. Three of the co-authors are employees of Theratechnologies, which funded the study, and other co-authors have financial relationships with the company.

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