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HIV DRUGS ARE DANGEROUS AND TOXIC? WHEN NEW DRUGS!!!!
Jul 24, 2002

Hello Dearest Experts, Although it may be true that Hiv Meds might prolong progression to ARC (Aids Related Complications) it seems that the current medicines out to treat the disease are deliquent and inconsistent in allowing patients who spend hard earned dollars to maintain a regular way of life as they did prior to their becoming infected. Research is great, but without results; i.e. until the drugs are manufactured that are less hepatoxic to the liver, less directly associated with cardiac problems as is witnessed in the usuage of protease inhibitors, until these cocktails are preventive of death in the lining of cell membranes, it is fascinating as to why infected individuals would even rush to be treated. Ask yourself this, would you really openly rush into treatment that causes shape deformations, facial wasting, and now may even possibly cause death of bone in the hip area? Gentleman oh my dear gentleman, if i may ask, what the hell are the pharmaceutical companies doing in assuring that existing drug regimes are going to be changed in order to eliminate and minimize these toxic effects? New medicines take forever to become approved. When these new medicines do appear, they often have new side effects. One is usually not much better than the other. Such a life is frustrating. Lives of patients who embarked on treatment after the introduction of new medicines back in 96, now find themselves in a dilema where only kind words of optimism can provide any sort of solace. Let's get real! When are new less toxic drugs going to emerge and when new results without these devasting side effects. We need action in the field, enough kind words!

Sincerely yours,

Craig H. Leukoapoukis

Response from Dr. Wohl

Dear Craig-

We do indeed need a new generation of antiretrovirals that are less toxic and maybe we are just starting to see this happen. But, I will tell you, I am a glass half full kind of guy. In my early HIV career I did research on CMV retinitis and saw my fair share of young blind men being dressed every day by their mothers. Fortunately, I had to find a new line of investigation as new drugs made CMV and other opportunistic conditions endangered species (I chose to study prevention and treatment of metabolic complications of HIV therapies).

Does fat wasting, high triglycerides, and diabetes suck? You bet, but not nearly so much as cryptococcus blocking the flow of spinal fluid from your brain or HIV dementia or lymphoma. To start down the treatment path is a personal choice - one that has to weigh the risks from the virus and the risks from the treatment. Fortunately, I can sleep at night because at this stage I am not seeing anywhere near the majority of the patients I work with develop serious health threatening complications from their HIV medications. Do bad things happen? Yes, they do and many of us are trying to figure out how to prevent drug related complications.

This virus wraps itself in the DNA. Getting it out is not going to be easy or pretty but that does not mean we shouldn't keep up the pressure to find potent, safe and affordable treatments. We only got this far because people demanded more, faster and better. Thanks. -DW



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