Oct 19, 2005
Response from Dr. Frascino
Sexual dysfunction in us virally enhanced men is common and could be due to many factors, including depression, anti-depressant medications, stress, physical weakness, opportunistic infections, nerve damage (HIV- or drug-related neuropathy), HIV-associated mental impairment and low sex hormone levels. Viagra and similar drugs can be very effective in treating some types of erectile dysfunction. However, like many other meds, there are potential drug-drug interactions with antiretroviral medications. Norvir (ritonavir) is a potent inhibitor of the CYP3A4 liver enzyme system. It can increase Viagra concentrations and delay its elimination from the body. Consequently, dudes on Norvir should take only one 25 mg dose of Viagra (half of the usual 50 mg dose) in a 48-hour period. I should also note that Viagra greatly magnifies the effect of nitrate-containing substances (certain blood pressure medications and "poppers") on blood pressure. Consequently, concurrent use of these agents is strictly contraindicated. Deaths have been reported in those using the little brown bottle ("poppers") in combination with baby-blue Viagra.
So, would it be safe for your partner to try 25 mg of Viagra while on his current HAART regimen? Most likely yes; however, as with all new medications, I strongly advise you to check with his HIV/AIDS specialist to be sure there aren't other factors specific to his case that may need to be considered.
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