Atripla possibly exposed to heat, but still experience side effects
Sep 26, 2009
First of all thanks for all your hard work and for taking the time to read my question.
I have checked the forums, and I know this topic has come up a lot, but I have a special consideration to present.
I was recently traveling across the country from the West and once I reached the South, I accidentally left some extra supplies of Atripla in my car overnight a couple of nights. It was never exposed to direct sunlight (was in dark bin), and the few days I was in the South, it was mostly stormy and overcast and temps didn't get too high.
Also, since I'm still not currently near my pharmacy (or doctor, and my Rx plan requires me to fill where I'm not at currently), I had a friend mail me a refill of my Atripla. It took 2 or 3 days to get here in the end of August, and might have been exposed to temperature extremes from being mailed across the country.
But here's my question. I didn't really have the option to try to get it replaced (and not taking it at all was not an option), so of course I took it anyway; and both my emergency stash and new refill might have been exposed to heat. But taking these possibly degraded meds, I still experience the efavirenz side effects (loopiness, body buzz, drowsiness, crazy dreams).
I know it's still best to replace the meds that might have been damaged by heat, but since this was not an option for me, is the fact that I still experience the Sustiva side effects of the Atripla (just like I did before) a good indication that the meds are still potent?
Thanks for your time.
Response from Dr. Young
Hello J and thanks for your question.
I don't think that you could use your side effect profile to judge whether or not your meds have been damaged.
But, I'd generally look on the more optimistic side-- you don't know for sure if your meds were damaged, right? The fact that you have the same side effects is reassuring. Nevertheless, if you have concern, I'd ask your doctor about the possibility of doing a viral load test in a week or two. It's really the only way to gauge if the meds are working (and provide reassurance).
I hope this helps and wish you well,
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