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medications
Aug 13, 2009

I'm going to start taking medication soon as per my doctor. cd-4 of 676 and viral load of 700,000. Which drug combination would you recomend that has the least side effects. I would not like to deal with diarrehia,loss of weight, vomiting if possible. Which drug combination has the short term effects and have a good track record to start with. thank you

Response from Dr. McGowan

Since you will be starting treatment at a good CD4 count it gives you time to learn about the different treatments that would be best for you.

Your question is not easy one since everyone reacts differently to treatment. Side effects are reported in the aggregate, but for any one person the side effects will either be 100% or 0%.

The first consideration would be to avoid any meds to which your virus shows resistance, that should be discussed with your doctor.

Most treatments are now combinations of NRTIs with an NNRTI or a boosted PI. Either approach is generally well tolerated. But there are rare exceptions, for example some people cannot tolerate efavirenz (the most popular NNRTI) and some have no problem at all, likewise with Norvir which is used to "boost" the levels of PIs. Most of the treatments that are "recommended" by the current treatment guidelines are very well tolerated..by most people.

The best thing is to establish a good relationship with your health care provider to be sure you have a conduit to reach him/her during the time you are adjusting to your treatment to get feedback on ways to deal with side effects or be able to switch off offending meds.

Joe



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