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Switched from Atripla to The Quad

Oct 24, 2012

My doctor encouraged me to join a study for The Quad. I was doing great on Atripla and questioned the value of fixing something that wasn't broken. Got my first labs back and viral load still undetectable but I dropped from 700 T cells to 600 which concerned me. The office explained it away as part of sending my blood to an out of state lab where it takes longer to process and you often get higher numbers from their in house lab. I'm skeptical and wonder about the feasibility of jumping off this 2 year study and returning to Atripla. I'm worried my body will perceive it as med holiday and Atripla may no longer work for me. My doctor's office said no problem but worrying is what I do best. Thanks.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Hi and thanks for your question.

Your doctor is correct. CD4 counts are very lab dependant. When you switch labs there is always some difference, this is more important than any delay in processing. This is on top of the normal, expected variation that takes place naturally as the CD4 cells move in and out of the bloodstream and the tissues.

A form of the new "Quad" pill has just been approved. It has performed very well in studies so far. We need all different types of people to participate in clinical trials, it is a tremendous benefit for doctors and patients to learn the best use of new meds. As long as your virus remains undetectable you are not risking resistance to your previous meds, or any future ones. If the virus is undetectable, it cannot mutate and cannot develop resistance.

Thank you for volunteering for a clinical trial.


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