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Nov 1, 2004

Taking Sustiva+Epivir+Viread for 2 years. Treated this year for Hodgkin's Disease (ABVD protocol + radiation). Now quite depressed. Likely from the Sustiva or more likely from the chemotherapy? If from chemotherpay, when will the depression likely clear?

I'm just so sick of drugs, I really don't want to consider any more meds for depression, if I can get through this without.

Will be following up with both my internist and my oncologist, but would appreciate an opinion.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Horwath

If you have been taking the Sustiva for two years without suffering from depression, then your current depression is not likely to be due to the Sustiva. Most, but not all, of the psychiatric side effects of Sustiva tend to occur early on in the course of treatment.

Chemotherapy can cause severe fatigue, loss of energy and many other symptoms of depression. The acute effects of chemotherapy (nausea, etc.) usually subside after several days to a week. If your continue to have symptoms of depression (low mood, loss of interest, loss of pleasure, insomnia, appetite loss, etc.) for several weeks, then you should be evaluated and treated for depression.

Many people with depression benefit from cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal therapy, which would help you to avoid taking further medication if that's what you'd like to do (understandably). However, if your depression persists, you may want to consider an antidepressant. Nowadays, the antidepressants are very safe and effective, and you can often get away with taking just one additional pill per day. Best of luck with your treatment.

HIV shrouds every aspect of my life.
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