PML - Give up meds or not
Feb 8, 2000
My brother was diagnosed on Nov 2, 1999 with Aids with the complication of PML. Since then he has progressively gotten worse. He is now bed-ridden and can no longer do anything for himself. He can only talk in syllables and even then you have a hard time understanding him. In the past two weeks his appetite has just about vanished and he is starting to lose muscle control in his neck. He is fully aware of what is happening to him and around him and does not want to live like this so he wants to stop his meds. Right now he is in between doctors since I just brought him home last week and I need answers before he gets to see his new doctor which won't be until next week. Is he in his finally stages and what will happen if he stops the meds? His viral load is undetectable and tcell count 60.
Response from Dr. Currier
Usually PML gets better with HIV therapy. It appears in this case that his HIV is under control, but that he has not had a sufficient immune response to get control of the PML. PML is thought to be caused by another virus (JC virus). When the t cells go up with HIV, you can get control of the PML. A couple of thoughts here. First a trial of interleukin-2 (IL-2) could be tried to boost the CD4 cells up. There is some new data suggesting that even late stage disease can benefit by increasing T cells. Second a trial of cidofovir. This intravenous med is usually used for CMV retinitis, but has been used successfully by some (my self included)to reverse some of the manifestations of PML. Cidofovir appears to have activity against JC virus.
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