AIDS Drugs Linked to Early Aging

Scientists have found that certain generic AIDS drugs used in Africa and other countries can cause early aging and age-related ailments like dementia and heart disease.

Nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, or NRTIs are the culprit generic drugs which damage the patients’ DNA leading to premature aging. This finding was published by British researchers in Nature Genetics journal.

The researchers say newer AIDS drugs are safer but to be certain more research is required. The side effects of the culprit AIDS drugs take time to become apparent.

These findings explain why some AIDS patients treated with the older HIV drugs show age-related ailments like frailty, dementia and heart disease earlier in their life. After their introduction, NRTIs like AZT extended patients’ lifespans and made HIV a chronic disease rather than a death sentence.

In rich nations, NRTIs’ toxicity and side effects have affected their popularity and they have since been replaced by fresher combinations of AIDS drugs that have fewer side effects. However, generic drugs are still popular in poor countries as they are cheaper.

The United Nations reveals there about 33.3 million AIDS patients worldwide, out of whom 22.5 million live in Africa. NRTIs even with their toxic side effects are indispensable in Africa because the expensive newer AIDS medicines are out of question.

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