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HIV Drug Lawsuit Against Gilead Permitted to Proceed

Individuals taking Gilead’s HIV drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) may experience complications related to the medication, including kidney disease and/or bone density loss. Here, the product liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos discuss the health and legal implications of TDF drugs. 

TDF for HIV Treatment 

TDF is an antiretroviral drug known as a nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor prescribed to treat HIV. The drug is designed to inhibit the activity of reverse-transcriptase, an enzyme that is essential in the replication and progression of HIV. The five TDF drugs manufactured by Gilead are Viread, Truvada, Atripla, Complera and Stribild.

Why are Users Filing Lawsuits Against Gilead?

TDF drugs were introduced to the market in 2001. That same year, Gilead began the development of a less toxic alternative known as tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF). Two years later, Gilead placed a label on its TDF products warning of the possible side effects, and a year later the drug manufacturer stopped the development of the less toxic TAF. It is not until 2010 that Gilead resumed its development of TAF. The first drug of its kind, Genvoya, was released to the public in 2015.

Users allege that individuals who took one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs endured up to 10 years of additional toxicity even though Gilead had already developed a safer alternative.

How Have TDF Users Been Harmed by the Gilead Manufactured Drugs?

Recent reports have stated that individuals taking one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs may have an increased risk of developing severe kidney issues as well as experiencing significant bone density loss. 

Kidney Damage

Kidney damage is a particularly dangerous side effect because the symptoms of kidney damage only typically appear once irreversible damage has occurred. Approximately 20,000 people taking one or more of TDF drugs have been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease prevents the kidneys from effectively filtering the bloodstream, and waste can build up to dangerously high levels if left unaddressed. In the most severe cases of chronic kidney disease, people will need to undergo dialysis or have a kidney transplant. Symptoms of kidney failure include:

  •   loss of appetite,
  •   fatigue,
  •   poor concentration,
  •   swelling of feet and ankles,
  •   itchy skin,
  •   the need to urinate frequently,
  •   high blood pressure,
  •   abnormal protein levels in the urine and
  •   death due to renal failure.

Bone Density Loss

Since 2009, there have been nearly 6,000 reports of bone breaks allegedly connected to the use of TDF drugs. Early studies of Viread, Gilead’s first TDF drug to reach the market, linked its use to bone density loss. A 2010 study found that “a strong correlation between loss of bone density in HIV-infected individuals, particularly in conjunction with the antiretroviral drug tenofovir.”  The rapid decay of bone tissue may lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones are so weak that minor falls or stresses can cause them to fracture.

TDF drug users have alleged they developed osteopenia after taking the HIV drug, a precursor condition to osteoporosis in which bone density levels fall below their peak levels.

Contact The Law Offices of Peter Angelos Today

While the TDF drugs manufactured by Gilead have improved the lives of those living with HIV, the allegations that Gilead knew about potential severe side effects and withheld a safer alternative to maximize profits is abhorrent. If this is the case, Gilead must be held responsible. If you or a loved one were diagnosed by a physician with kidney issues or experienced bone density loss after using a TDF drug, contact the product liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Peter Angelos for a no fee consultation today.