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PEP- why the 4 weeks of Atripla for PEP?

May 15, 2010

I have a question, I will try to keep it short. I have recieved Atripla as a PEP from a previous exposure. Due to the horrible side-effects, I finished 24 of the 30 pills that were perscribed for me, I could not finish them all. After several months, I took an HIV test and it came back negative. Now I sadly have had another possible exposure, and have 6 pills left. Is it worth it to take them? And why are the 4 weeks of Atripla perscribed as a PEP in the first place? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino


A full course of post-exposure prophylaxis is 28 days. The duration of any course of medical treatment is based on information from clinical trials, pharmacology of the drug(s), natural history of the disease, and other factors.

The recommendation for post-PEP HIV testing is six weeks, three months and six months.

PEP is most effective if taken as soon as possible after a significant HIV exposure, and you should continue a full 28-day course. If more than 72 hours have elapsed since exposure, PEP is no longer warranted or felt to be effective. If you've had a significant HIV exposure and you are within the 72 hours, you have two choices: (1) Go to an urgent care center, ER or physician immediately and get started on PEP if warranted. (2) Start the Atripla you have immediately and then see an HIV specialist who will follow your course over the next 28 days. The specialist can help you with PEP-related side effects and toxicities, or he may switch you to a completely different PEP regimen if Atripla is not well tolerated.

The real question here is why have you had two HIV exposures that require PEP within the recent past? What's up with that??? Review proper condom technique in the archives of this forum. You'll also find loads of information regarding PEP there as well.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Sorry to bother you again

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