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High Calcium Levels

Mar 24, 2013

Hi, doctor.

My partner was admitted to the hospital today after seeing that his calcium level was high. I wasn't able to ask his father more details about this. What do you think could have caused this? From reading tons of stuff, the only things I have read about side effects of ARVs related to calcium and bones is osteoporosis, which is related to low calcium levels, is that correct? That is why I find this strange.

I'm not sure if this will help, but I'll give you a background.

September last year, his right foot felt weak and had difficulty walking. Mid-October, he was rushed to the hospital after falling in the bathroom and hitting his head because of his foot's condition. It was then found out that he was having gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers and his potassium and magnesium levels have dropped significantly. It was also then that he was diagnosed of HIV. He started treatment, of course, but his regimen was odd: Atripla, Trizivir and Viread. More tests were done on him and they found traces of tuberculosis in his bone marrow and so he was placed in an isolation room.

By mid-January, he was out of the isolation room already as his TB had been cured (that was what I was told).

Towards the end of February, he was released from the hospital and rehab facility (he was undergoing physical therapy for his legs). By first week of March, he was finally able to see an HIV specialist and his regimen was corrected to Prezista, Norvir and Epzicom.

Any ideas on what could have caused his high levels of calcium? Could it be the odd regimen (Atripla + Viread + Trizivir) and its interactions with his other meds/supplements (like... TB meds, potassium, magnesium, etc.) or can this be an HIV/AIDS complication?

I am worried.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You don't indicate what level his calcium was, and whether other laboratory test results were abnormal, and whether the calcium level has now normalized. Many diseases (cancers and infections for example) can cause an increased blood calcium level, including tuberculosis. In general, HIV infection itself or HIV meds would not do this. Medication interactions, particularly those that affected the kidneys, could play a role.

HIV Antibodies on Babies Born From Mothers With HIV
gp160 & p24

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