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SHINGLES....STAY AWAY!
Apr 17, 2000

dear doctor,

1 year ago, i developed shingles on my face and eye. it was the worst pain i have ever experienced. i have since healed, but live in fear that it will come back. my doctor told me that i could take FAMVIR 500mg everyday for the rest of my life, and this would ward off an occurrence of shingles. are there side effects to taking this drug for the rest of my life, and will this in any way affect my cocktail of zerit, epivir, viracept. do you recommend this?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

You can take preventive doses of famciclovir, acyclovir or valaciclovir on a permanent basis. It won't interact with your HIV meds. The potential risk is that of developing drug-resistant shingles from using it all the time. This isn't a huge risk, but it does happen. If your T cells are responding to your HIV meds, that is likely to be the best protection of all. I can understand wanting to avoid that pain again-- it's awful-- but you should know that there is some risk of developing resistance, although it's probably small.


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