The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Choosing Your MedsChoosing Your Meds
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Vitaimin D deficiency and supplementation while on Atripla
Apr 16, 2012

Dear Doctor,

At my most recent visit, my HIV doctor checked my vitamin D levels for the first time, and I turned out to be very deficient; if I recall the test result correctly, it was something like 12. So, he has me on a prescription of 50,000 IU once-a-week vitamin D for eight weeks with a re-check after that.

Since my HIV therapy remains unchanged, what would keep my vitamin D level from returning to deficiency once this prescription is over? Is it possible to "store up" vitamin D and then resume normal vitamin intake, along with a balanced diet, after having gone through such a short course of vitamin D therapy, or is this simply a warm-up for a permanent weekly vitamin D pill for as long as I take Atripla?

I most recently tested at CD4 803 and 45%, UD VL, positive for well over 20 years, on Atripla or its components for more than 7 years, with other lab markers satisfactory and no other health issues.

I live in a northern area of the US and had the vitamin D test after a long, dark winter, so maybe I would improve if I just spent more time outside. I've read responses on this web site that seemed to take a dim view towards vitamin supplementation if one has a well-balanced diet, which in my view has been the case, but in the setting of Atripla would permanent high-level vitamin D supplementation be a likely situation? Up until now I only sporadically took vitamin supplements.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

Vitamin D is important for a variety of health reasons, particularly because of it's importance in maintaining bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the general population; there's also additional data that suggests that people taking efavirenz might have lower levels.

We're testing vitamin D in all of our patients annually, and finding that at least 50% of people have low levels. Some individuals, like you have very low levels (less than 20).

Your doctor has chosen a very reasonable strategy for refilling your vitamin D tank- 50,000 units once weekly is very simple, inexpensive and well tolerated. I've found that it takes anywhere from 2-6 months to get levels like yours back to normal.

Thereafter, you'll need to continue to intake the usually recommended daily amount of vitamin D. If you're a 20-50 year old adult, the Institute of Medicine recommendations are to continue taking about 600 units of vitamin D with about 1000 mg of calcium daily. You can get these from dietary intake, but for most American adults, this is difficult and supplements easily do the job.

I hope that helps. BY

Maintain your kidney
Which med is it??

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint