Scientific research links HIV drugs manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc. to premature bone loss. Litigation against the manufacturer alleges that Gilead was aware of these risks and downplayed them when marketing the drugs, which net the company billions of dollars in annual profits. The first tenofovir lawsuit was filed against the maker of Truvada in May 2018 by a 58-year-old man whose bones resembled that of an 85-year-old woman’s, according to his doctors.
Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine) was released to the market in 2004 for the treatment of HIV. In July 2012, the FDA approved expanded use for reducing the risk of sexually-transmitted HIV. A small Australian study looked at 34 men taking Truvada for PrEP and found:
- 2% average drop in bone mineral density in the lumbar spine, with 27% measuring over 5%.
- 1% average BMD loss in the hips, with 16% measuring higher than 5%.
- 5% average BMD loss at the femoral neck, with 25% measuring higher than 5%.
Eighty-two percent of the men had greater than 3% bone mineral density loss at the spine or hips, and 53% had greater than 5% BMD loss in one or both sites. Previous studies had reported rates as low as 1% BMD loss because they failed to take into account poor adherence to the daily regimen.
Another study found that PrEP may stunt the growth of young men taking it in their late teens or early twenties. While some of the bone loss can be stopped after discontinuing Truvada, there are still concerns that numerous fractures could have been prevented in the first place if the company had not tried to hide or downplay known risks.
Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, TDF) must be used in combination with other drugs and was first approved by the FDA for HIV treatment in 2001. It was approved for use as PrEP in July 2012. A study published in the June 15, 2011 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases found that the tenofovir in Viread, Truvada, and Atripla caused a greater degree of bone loss than other drugs in the class, such as Reyataz and Sustiva.
Bone loss between 2-6 percent was observed within the first two years of starting antiretroviral treatment but generally did not progress further.
Atripla (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) can be used as a standalone therapy or in combination with other drugs. It gained FDA approval in July 2006 for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults. It is NOT approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, despite off-label promotion.
Studies show that patients who switched from this TDF-based treatment to a Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate (TAF) based treatment after 48 weeks had increased in bone density, while those who remained on TDF drugs continued to decline.
Complera (emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) was FDA approved in August 2011 to treat HIV-1 infection in adults who have never used HIV medicines before. Like other drugs containing tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, Complera users are at increased risk of bone mineral density loss. Because the body has difficulty absorbing useful amounts of Complera, the high doses it is prescribed at put patients at greater risk of suffering bone-related side effects.
Stribild (elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is used as part of a combination therapy to boost the effectiveness of elvitegravir in HIV-1 infection medicine for adults. The FDA approved its use in August 2012. Like other TDF drugs, Stribild users often experience adverse side effects like bone fractures, back pain, and loss of posture or height.
Have You Suffered Bone Loss from HIV Drugs? Contact Showard Law Firm
If you or a loved one took one of these HIV drugs and suffered a fracture or other adverse effect, now is the ideal time to contact Showard Law Firm for a FREE consultation. You may be entitled to substantial monetary damages to cover past, present, and future medical expenses related to your bone injuries, as well as other losses. All states have strict laws limiting the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, so please call our law firm today to start the process.