Clinical trial seeks to prevent heart disease in those living with HIV

//Clinical trial seeks to prevent heart disease in those living with HIV

Clinical trial seeks to prevent heart disease in those living with HIV

An international clinical trial, which is looking for effective ways to prevent heart disease in those living with HIV, has hit 7,000 participants.

“It’s a major accomplishment,” said Dr. Judith Currier, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA Health, which is one of seven enrolling centers in Southern California for this particular clinical trial called REPRIEVE, which stands for Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV.

Dr. Judith Currier, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA Health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currier said the trial follows individuals who have been living long-term with HIV, and looks into whether taking a statin drug helps prevent cardiovascular events in those who take the medication as opposed to those who don’t take it.

This is a randomized, double-blinded study, which means one group receives the actual drug and the other gets the placebo, which has no effect.

Studies have shown people with HIV are 50 to 100 percent more likely to develop heart disease compared to people who do not.

And that’s because people with HIV have excess inflammation due to chronic viral infection, Currier said. Even when that inflammation is treated and suppressed with drugs, there might be “residual inflammation,” which might increase the risk of heart disease, she said.

Participants either get a placebo or a type of statin drug, which is known to have minimum interactions with drugs HIV patients take, Currier said. Patients are followed for four to six years as part of this trial.

“For people who are living with HIV and doing well on medications, this study will give us a good look at some of the challenges they face and the clinical issues or problems people living with HIV have,” she said.

The clinical trial, which began in April 2015, is being conducted around the world including in countries such as South Africa, Thailand, Brazil and Botswana, Currier said.

In Southern California, participating centers include the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, the UCLA Health Care Center, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Keck School of Medicine at USC, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, the Eisenhower Health Center at Rimrock CRS in Palm Springs and the UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center.

Participants are required to be between the ages of 40 and 75 and must have been living with HIV. They should be individuals who don’t have a personal history of heart disease, heart attack or stroke, should not be currently taking statin drugs and should only have a low to moderate risk of developing heart disease.

Octavio Vallejo, 62, of Los Angeles, who has been participating in the trial for three years now, said he was diagnosed with HIV in 1990.

“My family is from Mexico and I have a lot of genetic predisposition to diabetes, hypertension and heart issues,” he said.

“I think this study could be very useful for HIV patients, especially for those who don’t have the privilege or opportunities I’ve had for treatment and survival.”

Author:  

Source: https://www.dailynews.com/2018/09/10/clinical-trial-seeks-to-prevent-heart-disease-in-those-living-with-hiv/