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Do Meds Help PN?

May 3, 2004

Dear Ben, David or Gerald,

I am 18 months infected, with very good T Cells and low VL which by themselves would not indicate starting ART treatment. However in the last 2 weeks I've been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in hand, feet and other areas. I'm on low dose neurontin, 100mg 3 times a day, which is managing the pain. My question is would ART meds likely assist in healing or preventing further progression of the neuropathy? Your help is appreciated. Regards.

Response from Dr. Pierone

It may help. In some cases, peripheral neuropathy is related to toxic effects of the virus on nerves. An indication for treatment of HIV infection is otherwise unexplained neurologic symptoms, even with a good CD4 count and low viral load. If you do decide to go on a course of treatment it should be with a regimen that has minimal risk for neuropathy (avoid ddI-Videx, d4T Zerit). Other causes of neuropathy should be looked for prior to treatment (excess alcohol use, B12 deficiency, heavy metal toxicity, etc). Good luck!

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