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can i be on and off on meds??
Aug 6, 2010

hi i have started with atripla a few weeks back and doing just gr8, no side effects what so ever, already had 380 cd4 cells pre ART and just 10000 viral load, absolutely no signs of hiv/aids, voluntarily diagnosed. i was just wondering if i can go on and off of atripla, provided like i get undetectable viral load and good counts, coz i have heard that most resistance cases occur in presence of meds and generally using meds for long time, so won't be a good idea to take atripla for a couple of years and then take a year off and then resume again, provided that i attain good counts, and continue this indefinitely....????

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

You've asked a logical question; the strategy of structured treatment interruptions was commonly used some years ago to decrease the amount of drug exposure and risks of toxicity. Fortunately, science and clinical trials designed the studies to determine if this made sense and was beneficial.

Unfortunately, large independently-sponsored clinical trials actually showed the opposite effect. HIV+'s who stopped suppressive treatments actually had increased rates of complications and even (all-cause) death. Exactly why this is the case isn't entirely clear, but the conclusion is that HIV is still a bad thing, even with high CD4 counts.

With better and better tolerated medications, the goal for this doctor and his patients is to find the best tolerated, least inconvenient, individualized medication regimen that my patients can take for a very long time, without need (or desire) to discontinue.

I hope this helps, BY



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