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A report on the effect of commencing enfuvirtide on peripheral neuropathy.

Cherry CL, Duncan AJ, Mackie KF, Wesselingh SL, Brew BJ

  • Journal AIDS research and human retroviruses

  • Published 10 Nov 2008

  • Volume 24

  • ISSUE 8

  • Pagination 1027-30

  • DOI 10.1089/aid.2007.0300


Enfuvirtide is the first fusion inhibitor approved for use in HIV treatment and is a useful therapeutic option for highly treatment experienced individuals. Passive reporting has associated increased neuropathy rates with enfuvirtide use in some early studies but not others. The aim of this study was to describe any functional or clinical changes consistent with neuropathy among enfuvirtide users. A prospective cohort study of patients commencing or continuing enfuvirtide at a state HIV referral service, including clinical and sensory threshold monitoring, was conducted. A total of 14 patients were studied. All had advanced HIV disease and 13 (93%) had symptoms and/or signs consistent with neuropathy at baseline. Patients who entered the study on enfuvirtide-based therapy remained neurologically stable throughout follow-up. Eleven patients were assessed preand postenfuvirtide. No evidence was found for any clear effect of enfuvirtide on neuropathic symptoms, neuropathic signs, or sensory thresholds at a cohort level (p > 0.3 for all, Wilcoxon signed rank test). However, three (21%) patients experienced worsening of existing neuropathy symptoms (transient in two cases) and two (14%) patients' symptoms improved with enfuvirtide commencement. Breakthrough HIV viremia was associated with worsening symptoms in two patients at 5 and 18 months of enfuvirtide use. This study found no clear effect on peripheral nerves from enfuvirtide. Although limited by a small sample size, this study involved patients who would have been particularly vulnerable to a neurotoxin, with advanced HIV disease and a high rate of baseline neurological abnormalities. We observed no clear evidence of neurotoxicity from enfuvirtide in this population.