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HIV Drugs Linked to Kidney and Bone Density Problems

Many people afflicted with HIV have seen their health improve by the use of antiretroviral medications like tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), known by its brand name, Truvada. The drug was introduced in 2001 by Gilead Sciences, which manufactures four other TDF-based anti-HIV products: Atripla; Viread; Complera and Stribild. While the benefits of TDF have been measurable, serious side effects have also been linked to its use.

These pharmaceuticals, referred to as nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), are designed to prevent viruses from reproducing within the body. However, doctors and researchers are stressing that individuals taking these medications should be aware of:

  • Kidney damage — When someone is afflicted with HIV, the kidneys are placed under heavy pressure because they act as filters for the bloodstream. When Truvada and other TDFs are excreted by the kidneys, they can collect in the organ’s tubules, increasing the risk of kidney failure. Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco showed that this danger worsens as the medication is taken for long periods of time and lingers even after discontinuing its use.
  • Bone density problems — Osteoporosis is a dangerous condition often associated with older individuals who have lower bone density, making them more prone to fractures. However, HIV patients of all ages who have taken TDF have showed signs of weakened bones — particularly children, whose bones are still developing.

One key aspect of the claims against Gilead is the assertion that the company was aware of a safer alternative, yet continued to sell the TDF-related products without sufficient warning. A study showed that tenofovir alafenamide (known as TAF) works as an NRTI while lowering the risk of adverse side effects involving kidneys and bone density.

Though the harmful impact of TDF medications has been demonstrated, proving drug manufacturer liability can be a challenge, especially for someone who already has a serious health condition. Retaining an attorney who has experience going against pharmaceutical makers will help you assess your potential claim and work to hold the manufacturer accountable.

Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban advises clients who are suffering due to the negligence of pharmaceutical manufacturers and other parties. Please call (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.

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