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Meds & liver
Jul 25, 2000

I take Combivir and Sustiva. Haven't felt this good in years and incredible energy level. Nondetectible and Cd4 has soared. I have a concern though, I understand that the they are very hard on the liver. Is there anything that I can take to help relieve the stress on my liver?

Response from Dr. Pavia

I am glad you are feeling great. Liver side effects can occur with many of the meds we use, but they are not necessarily "hard on the liver" in most people. Other things that influence how the liver does, including hepatitis B or C, other drugs (including complementary and alternative ones) and alcohol.

I like to check blood work every 3 months for people on meds, and to check everyone for Hepatitis a, b and c. If the tests are normal, you probably don't need to worry. Avoid excess booze (hard to define...), recreational drugs, and talk with your provider about whether you need any vaccines. Milk thistle has been touted for "liver protection" but I think we don't know enough yet to recommend it, and we have not looked at all of the drug interactions. However, good studies need to be done on milk thistle and other promising herbal therapies.

Andrew T. Pavia, M.D.


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