A recent report suggests that AIDS patients taking the antiviral drug abacavir may develop diabetes.
The report cites the case of a 47 year old man with no family history of diabetes who began a course of abacavir (300 mg twice daily) after radiation treatment for Kaposi’s sarcoma.
The man’s blood glucose level dropped dramatically while on abacavir and he experienced marked lethargy. However, within two weeks of discontinuing abacavir, his blood glucose levels were back to normal. It is not clear whether the abacavir caused the diabetes or whether, when given with other drugs such as hydrochlorothiazide and didanosine, it acted to potentiate their known hyperglycaemic effects (N Engl J Med, 2001; 344: 142-4).