|Thinking of taking a second prolonged drug holiday
Nov 21, 2004
Based on updated guidelines of DHHS for starting HIV treatment, I would like to give my body another break from meds. My regimen is only trizivir for the last two years and has been undetectable since then with a CD4 of 700-800 as of last lab test. I was positive since 1997 and started with a CD4 of 600 and 72000 viral load at that time. After taking combivir and viracept for three years and remained undetectable, I stopped taking meds for three years till my viral load reached 70000 when I resumed with Trizivir. What do think Doc of giving myself another "break" for perhaps a year or two?
Response from Dr. Sherer
I would not object to the plan for a treatment interruption in which you monitor your CD4 cells and viral load regularly, e.g. every 3 month or so. This strategy seems to allow patients to stay off medications for a year or more without undue harm, and those who do best are those who started treatment early, i.e. when their CD4 cell counts were above 200.
But I would only suggest you do this with your doctor's agreement, and the commitment from both you and your doctor to continue regular follow up. I would not advise that you do this on your own, as unexpected events are common in the course of HIV disease.
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