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How long will I need Atripla?
May 28, 2010

After going over my lab work with my doctor today, he recommended that I start Atripla. My lab results were VL - 70,000 and CD - 926. My doctor informed me that my neutrophil levels were low and that he wants me to start treatment. He added that if it were not for the low neutrophil levels, he would not have started me on medication. My question is, how effective do you think Atripla will be in regards to increasing neutrophil levels? And, if they increase, is there a possibility that I can stop treatment, or do you think this is a permanent solution? Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your question.

Having low neutrophil levels (which are a type of white blood cell that is needed to fight off bacterial and certain fungal infections) can be seen sometimes due to HIV infection. It is usually more common in people with lower CD4 counts. Only about 0.8% of people with CD4 count over 700 will have low neutrophils. Have your doctor check for any medications or supplements that you may be taking that could cause this since this is a common reason for the low counts. Treating HIV may or may not help, it depends how severe the neutrophil levels are. If severe it may be worthwhile seeing if suppressing the HIV will help. If it is successful it would be best to stay on treatment indefinitely since you will be benefitting from having HIV suppressed, which is a big plus, and keeping your neutrophils up. If, after a few months, the numbers do not change then you can opt to stay on meds or stop depending on how you feel..that should be discussed with your doctor.

Best, Joe



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