Sep 1, 2000
I have been HIV+ for over 13 years and have been on protease Inhibitors cocktail for several years. I have experienced side effects from them. I first had loss of fat in my face and then "buffalo hump", and now experiencing neuropathy in my feet. I had liposuction on my back, due to size and was causing headaches. Now the fat deposit is building up in other areas (hips and lower back). My feet (heel) hurt at all times, especially when I wake up until I stretch out my feet, but the discomfort never goes away. I was wondering if I got off the protease Inhibitors and continued on my other meds if my problems would leave. I am taking Crixivan, Videx, Norvir, epivir. I would appreciate your help in anyway....Thanks
Response from Dr. Pavia
It sounds like you are having two separate and serious side effects. The pain in your feet, due to neuropathy may be due to videx, past drugs, HIV itself, or possibly an unrelated problem. It is unlikely to be due to the protease inhibitors. You sound like you have pretty severe fat accumulation, which may be due to the dual protease inhibitor therapy. This is too difficult a problem to give you specific advice via the internet, but here are some thoughts which may help.
Stopping the PI's and using videx and epivir is probably not a good option and may not help your neuropathy. If you have not been on an non nuke before, switching may (or may not!) help with the fat accumulation. Depending on what options are left, you may could think about readjusting the nucleosides to avoid videx. If your CD4's are high enough, you and your doctor might even consider a drug holiday for a while (not for "immune boosting" but to give you a break from the side effects).
A recent small study showed benefits from troglitazone ( a diabetes drug) in improving blood sugars and fat changes. More study is needed, but the newer agents in this class, such as roziglitazone may have a role, especially for those with high blood sugars. Metformin is another diabetes agent that is under active study. These would be best used in the context of a study or at least with the help of an endocrinologist.
Andrew T. Pavia
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