Warning over statin use in HIV patients

GPs may struggle to lower cholesterol in HIV patients because of a little-known interaction between simvastatin and anti-retroviral drugs, say sexual health experts.

In a letter to the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, doctors from Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust in London say they are seeing an increasing number of patients on protease inhibitors (PIs) being prescribed simvastatin, despite the two being contraindicated.

The problem is due to PIs blocking cytochrome p450, which metabolises simvastatin, reducing its effectiveness.

Low-dose atorvastatin and pravastatin are considered suitable alternatives in these cases. But the foundation trust has ‘seen a recent cluster of patients prescribed simvastatin whilst on PIs’ according to the letter.

This means HIV patients, who are known to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, fail to get their elevated cholesterol levels under control.


Comment below and tell us what you think 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP appointment

General practice delivered 342m appointments in 2022 - and lost nearly 500 GPs

General practice in England delivered around 342m appointments in total in 2022 with...

NHS sign

Local GPs unite to take over two practices run by hospital trust

GPs in Swindon have come together to take over two practices that had spent more...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Why are junior doctors preparing to strike?

Talking General Practice speaks to BMA GP trainee committee chair Dr David Smith...


Practices face losing out on QOF income amid soaring demand

GP practices risk losing out on QOF income this year because sky-high demand for...

Nurse giving older man a COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI recommends targeted COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2023

People at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered a booster vaccination...

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay leaving number 10 Downing Street

Government sets out plans for 'major conditions' health strategy

The government is to set out a strategy to tackle six 'major' health conditions in...