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How Quickly do drugs work?

Aug 15, 2006

My friend in Mexico was diagnosed quite late--after a bout with p.pneunomia and karposi's sarcoma. He is somewhat weak and not fully recoverd from the pneumonia. The Karposi's is small, but getting worse. He just started taking Kaletra and Combivir. How long before he starts to feel better and his T-cell count (must be low) starts to rise? Does it take weeks, or months? How fast do these drugs work? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

I'm happy to hear that your Mexican friend has found his way to antiretroviral therapy. The combos of lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and AZT/3TC (Combivir) should be very potent and if adhered to, should drive his viral load to undetectable levels within a matter of 8-16 weeks.

CD4 counts rise seemly slowly, but it's not unusual to see a 100-200 cell rise in the first year.

Patients often feel better week by week with gradual improvement of their symptoms and fading away of the Kaposi's skin lesions.

I hope this helps. Buenos suerte a su amigo. BY



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