Feb 12, 2007
Dr. Bob.. I feel I must respond to the question you received from a fellow HIV'r in regards to ringing in the ears. I've been HIV+ for 20 years this coming August. I have been asymptomatic for all but 5 because of the medications. The last 5 years of medication side-effects have been a living hell. Not so much with the common side-effects, but with Tinnitus and or Menieres disease. I never had any problem with ringin in the ears until I started HIV medications. Now, my life is hell, the dizzy spells, the nausa, vomiting and loss of hearing is awful. It becomes so severe that I cannot drive or walk straight at times. At least I now know that I'm not the ONLY person with HIV suffering from this ringing in the ears. I have been to 4 ENT's and all have told me the same thing, "live with it" There's nothing they can do for me. Period. There MUST be SOMETHING somebody can do, I have called Gilead Co. because I take Truvada and talked to Abbott Labs as I also take Kaletra and both companys deny that THEIR drug is causing the ringing in the ears. Hummm.. funny this side effect isn't listed as a side effect. I would like to know what the person that wrote you is taking, maybe there IS a link? All I know is I've never been in the hospital for HIV disease, but I have for Tinnitus, 4 times it became so severe. Dr. Bob.. PLEASE help US the must be suffering the same side-effects and research what we can do to lead a somewhat normal HIV life. THANKS, Patrick in Redding, CA.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Tinnitus and Meniere's disease are two different illnesses, neither of which is commonly associated with HIV medications. It's entirely possibly your problem is not a medication side effect or toxicity. Remember HIVers can get non-HIV related diseases just like anyone else.
The common causes of Meniere's disease include acoustic neuroma, migraine-related vertigo, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune inner ear syndrome, otitis media and viral labyrinthitis.
Tinnitus can be caused by various vascular problems (carotid stenosis, aortic valve disease, arteriovenous malformations), muscle problems (spasm of the stapedius or tensor tympani muscle, palatal myoclonus) and even anxiety disorders.
Since you live in Redding, I'd suggest you have an evaluation at UCSF (University of California San Francisco) or Stanford. Both of these tertiary referral medical centers have considerable expertise in evaluating complex medical conditions as well as HIV expertise.
Chasing Gilead or Abbott will not be helpful in solving your problem.
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