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Depression, HIV and Antidepressants

Apr 20, 2014

Hello Dear Doctor, thank you all for your wonderful counselling in I have written here before about my problems with side effects while taking my ARVS. Currently I am on Isentress+Truvada, but some days I do get depressed (a bit sad, unmotivated, dazed, tired, sleepy, etc.). I told my other dear Doctor at home about it, and agreed for me to take Prozac (after I had asked if this would help me, because I have read that some people do well on Prozac). Anyway, I did take Prozac for some months and didn't notice any improvement. There really wasn't much of a change in my mood, neither better nor worse. Could you please recommend other antidepressants that would interact positively with my current ARV treatment? My health provider is a very good person, but since he works in a free crowded government clinic, there usually isn't much time for a relaxed unstressed unrushed appointment. Best wishes to u from Mexico.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Hello and thank you for writing. A significant number of individuals living with HIV/AIDS experience symptoms of depressive disorders. No single antidepressant medication has emerged as superior to others, although a class of antidepressants called SSRIs (Prozac is one) are generally favored because they have fewer side effects. It is not unusual to have a trial of several different antidepressants before finding one that is effective. An older group of antidepressants called tricyclics are also sometimes used, although they can have more side effects. In general, SSRIs are well tolerated in individuals taking antiretroviral medications.

Speak with your doctor about your ongoing depressive symptoms and consider trying a different one. You may have to try several before finding one that helps your symptoms. Although it is a bit technical, I will include a link here that summarizes some of this information.

I hope you feel better soon,


How can I explain to strangers the pills I swallow during dinners?
Did my mental illness cause my HIV?

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