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No spicy or fatty foods? Why eat, then?

May 1, 2001

I admit it...I love spicy foods, especially Hunan-style Chinese, and fatty foods such as pizza and chimichangas. Life just wouldn't be complete without a few gustatory pleasures!

I had my first O.I. a few months ago. Now, I'm doing somewhat nicely: CD4 is 658 and VL is undetectable. But my doctor has put me on Viracept (five 250mg tabs twice a day), which leads to frequent bouts with diarrhea. In addition, I'm on Zerit (20mg) and Epivir (150mg), one pill twice a day for both, and Mepron suspension (1 tsp twice a day).

Of course, the spicy and fatty foods I love only make the Viracept-induced diarrhea that much worse. OTC medications no longer work for me. A visit with my PCP during my third consecutive day with diarrhea got me a prescription for Lomotil, but considering I had to pay a 20 copay, and 15 for only 20 Lomotil pills (with *zero* refills), I'm not excited about paying another 35 for those tiny things, despite the fact they work wonderfully.

I understand I *do* need to change my diet, but if I can't have spicy or fatty foods, why should I even eat? I only recently regained my appetite (and it's come back with a vengeance), and Hunan Chinese, Mexican, and pizza are the *only* things I'm craving.

On top of that, non-spicy foods I used to enjoy are no longer appealing, including most meats (unless highly seasoned), many fruits and vegetables (corn and potatoes are the only exceptions), and sweets.

What foods are out there that I *can* enjoy, foods that have some semblance of flavor, without fear of exacerbating the wrath of Viracept?

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Lomotil is not a bad idea, just ask your MD for a larger prescription. The other things which help would be pancreatic enzymes like Ultrase MT 20, or calcium supplements. The enzymes would also allow you to eat those fatty foods! Try it! DTD

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