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expired meds
Sep 27, 2009

Hey bob, just a quick question for you...my husband is positive, and has been on atripla since june 11, 2009. We are foreigners that live and work in west africa, since his diagnosis he was put on meds right away. We just found out that the meds (atripla)that he was taking from day one are expired. there expiration date is june 2009. we are scared that because of this there may have been no effect from the drugs. in the beginning he had a little heaviness and sweating about an hour after taking a pill..but that only lasted a week or so. we were so happy to see that he didnt have any serious side effects, but now are very nervous that due to the expiration date, the meds are not effective. We have just done our 3 month tests, to make sure i am still negative, and to check his CD4 and VL. but here it takes a few weeks to get results. after asking the doctor here if it was a problem that the meds are expired he said it was no problem to take them up to 6 months after the date of expiry...is this ok? please give us your imput...as the atripla is not going to be available until march 2010 here, my husband is going to have to us the 2 separate meds that combine atripla,(truvada, efavirenz) is there any way that his body can resist? once he starts the 2 can he go back to atripla once it becomes available again without resist? thanks so much for your help, you have been my life line through these last few months, the body is a real lifesaver, and your work here is honoured..thank you

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Generally speaking, we recommend medications be used prior to the expiration date. However, many medications, particularly those in tablet form, remain fully potent and effective for a number of months after the official expiration date. The real question is why were you given expired medications in the first place? The pharmacy or agency that supplied them should replace your supply. As for switching from Atripla to Truvada plus efavirenz, this should not be a problem whatsoever. Atripla is just a combination pill, which contains the exact same medication as Truvada plus efavirenz. Consequently, switching back and forth between these two essentially identical regimens is not a problem.

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob



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