Oct 10, 2006
Have been dealing with severe fatigue for nearly three years since beginning haart treatment. My specialist thinks it is the sustiva that causes the fatigue, but my own research points to the trizivir and a possible hyper-sensitivity syndrome. I also suffer from depression and when I discuss how I feel with my doctors they are quick to prescribe an anti-depressant. Have tried several anti-depressants and they all seem to amplify the fatigue. Have suffered from depression for many more years than I have been infected, but never experienced this kind of general malaise everyday until I began haart meds. Quality of life has become very poor and I am often suicidal because of how I feel. Need help finding the cause and treating the problem before I just give up.
Response from Dr. Frascino
There are many potential causes of HIV-related fatigue and often several underlying causes may be working in tandem to drain your energy battery. The best approach to regaining your vim and vigor is to identify all the underlying contributing conditions and then specifically treat each one individually. Certainly many HIV meds can have fatigue as a side effect. Depression, as I'm sure you are aware, is also associated with fatigue among many other symptoms. Obviously your quality of life is suffering and something needs to be done. Here's what I recommend:
1. Read through the archives and familiarize yourself with all the common causes of HIV-associated fatigue (anemia, hormonal imbalance, unrecognized infection, etc.). Make a detailed list of these and advise your HIV specialist you want to discuss each one individually.
2. You know you've had trouble with the blues for many years. Certainly this could be at least a contributing factor. Rather than just getting another prescription for yet another antidepressant, I'd suggest you ask your HIV specialist for a referral to an HIV-knowledgeable psychiatrist. This is certainly warranted in light of your suicidal thoughts and failure on several antidepressants. A psychiatrist will be able to ascertain the severity of your depression and how much it may be contributing to your overall fatigue. They are also the most knowledgeable specialists for juggling antidepressants and their side effects to improve your quality of life.
Don't give up. Just refocus your efforts to get the help you need, OK? Things can and will get better.
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