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Side Effects LT Survivor
Nov 24, 2003


I am a long term survivor -- nearly 20 years -- generally experiencing good health. I have been taking meds since my diagnosis. I am currently on the combo: sustiva, ziagen, and videx. I have been taking this combo for many months and early on managed any serious side effects. For the past two weeks, however, I have felt light-headed and actually passed out last week. I am facing an unlimited number of tests -- that may actually not determine anything. The drx. seem focused somewhat on my heart. My questions is this: Is there anything about either this combo, the fact that I have taking it for some time, or that I have been on any number of strong meds, one after the other, for the past 20 years -- that would suggest an area of concern? I have something in the back of my head that long term survivors have experienced similar episodes that turned out to be something treatable or even serious. I can't recall where I read this or even what I should be focused on. I'd like to narrow down the scope of the tests I will put myself through -- or at least have some questions to ask my drx. when I see him again this week. Any ideas? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Wohl


Your lightheadedness may be your current HIV meds but I doubt it. Of your current ART batch, Sustiva would be the major suspect given its potential for neuro-psychological adverse effects but most people experience the worse of their side effects to Sustiva early during the first 4 weeks of treatment.

I think I would also try to rule out other causes either in the brain, heart or the blood vessels connceting these two organs. Other medications must also be excluded as a culprit. Also adrenal function should be evaluated if there is any evidence of adrenal gland insufficiency.

Besides this and a common sense medical approach, there is not much more I can suggest. If they/you figure it out, let us know.

Good luck, DW

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