Alternative Thymus extract

Note
Integrative therapies should not replace antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV patients. Patients should consult their healthcare providers before taking any herbs or supplements because they may interact with treatment. In particular, patients should not take St. John’s wort because it may interact with HIV treatment.

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence

Thymus extract

Thymus extracts for nutritional supplements are usually derived from young calves.

Preliminary evidence found no improvement in HIV progression to AIDS or immuno-stimulation, although some immunological activity was noted in a non-randomized controlled trial.

Additional study is needed to better understand the effects of thymus extract for HIV/AIDS.

  1. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to thymus extracts.
  2. Use bovine thymus extract supplements cautiously due to potential for exposure to the virus that causes “mad cow disease.”
  3. Avoid use with an organ transplant or other forms of allografts or xenografts.
  4. Avoid if receiving immunosuppressive therapy or hormone therapy.
  5. Avoid with thymic tumors, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disorder), or untreated hypothyroidism.
  6. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  7. Thymic extract increases human sperm motility and progression.

Selected References
AIDS.org. www.aids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). www.amfar.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). www.cdc.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. www.pedaids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Halperin DT, Steiner MJ, Cassell MM, et al. The time has come for common ground on preventing sexual transmission of HIV.Lancet. 2004 Nov 27-Dec 3;364(9449):1913-5.
Loutfy MR, Antoniou T, Shen S, et al. Virologic and immunologic impact and durability of enfuvirtide-based antiretroviraltherapy in HIV-infected treatment-experienced patients in a clinical setting. HIV Clin Trials. 2007 Jan-Feb;8(1):36-44.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). www.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Rigopoulos D, Gregoriou S, Paparizos V, et al. AIDS in pregnancy, part II: Treatment in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy and management of obstetric, anesthetic, and pediatric issues. Skinmed. 2007 Mar-Apr;6(2):79-84.
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. www.thebody.com. Accessed March 29, 2009.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). www.fda.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Vrouenraets SM, Wit FW, van Tongeren J, et al. Efavirenz: a review. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Apr;8(6):851-71.