The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Choosing Your MedsChoosing Your Meds
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Fat, Sustiva and Dosing Schedules

Oct 21, 1999

I noticed the warning to not take Sustiva with a high fat meal. Does this impact the effectiveness of Sustiva or just increase side effects? Also, I'm on Epivir and Zerit. I take Epivir and Zerit in the morning, and Sustiva, Epivir and Zerit in the evening. How important is it to take these meds at EXACTLY the same time each day?

Response from Dr. Cohen

First - the high fat meal issue with the Sustiva is there because fat actually increases the absorption of the Sustiva. And the concern would be that it might increase any side effects from getting higher levels in. Practically speaking, I have not heard of anyone who has noticed much difference as a result of this issue - it appears that whatever initial side effects you get from the Sustiva wear off and if they are gone, they don't appear to come back just because you take it with a high fat meal. But it is something to consider.

As for timing - once again the Sustiva is probably the most flexible of the meds in your combo as it has a blood level that comfortably lasts for a bit more than 24 hours - so taking it once a day with some variation in the actual hour you take it should be OK. That appears to be the case with the others as well - although they should be taken twice a day, it does not have to be exactly twelve hours apart in order to maintain the right cellular levels. Of the other two, the Epivir/3tc also appears to have a level in the cell comfortably longer than twelve hours and there are studies now going on to see how well this medication will work if it is used just once a day. But since we don't have any results, it is better to take it twice a day.

The Zerit/d4T is also undergoing study - we in Boston are cooperating in an international study that is testing a new formulation of d4T that is in a time release capsule which is being given just once a day, and in this study is compared with the standard twice a day schedule. And again, there is some flexibility with the standard d4T - twice a day is fine.

This combination has become pretty popular based on the results of a study showing its success - and we'll be updating those initial results at a conference next week. So stay tuned.

Hope that clarifies. CC

If 3TC resistance, will Abacavir work? part 2
Leaving Crixivan/D4T/3TC for D4t/3Tc/Viramune or Efavirenz?

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint