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Side Effects of Coming off PrEP?

Aug 21, 2017

Hi, I have been taking PrEP for 2 months now and recently had very severe food poisoning (10 days). During this time I stopped taking the PrEP as I couldn't keep anything down. Since stopping the PrEP I have started with very intense headaches and on/off diarrhea and cramping (Kai had this when I started with it). Do you know if this is a side effect of me coming off PrEP? I cannot find anything online about the effects of coming off PrEP. I would really appreciate your advice.

Response from Mr. Jacobs

Hi, I'm' sorry you've been struggling with such health issues. Fortunately, stopping PrEP is not known to be responsible for any of the symptoms you describe. It is true that about 8% of new Truvada users will experience "start-up symptoms", that is, possible diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Those generally tend to go away within the first few weeks.

When one stops using Truvada, however, there are no known side effects or withdrawal symptoms listed in the research, nor by the manufacturer. Truvada for HIV treatment has been used since 2004, and well documented. Truvada for HIV treatment was FDA approved in 2012, and many people in the past five years have started and stopped as needed. Again, no side effects or adverse incidents were reported as a result of stopping.

I would talk with your doctor about the headaches, diarrhea, and cramping you are experiencing. Before you see your doctor I'd keep a "symptoms" journal so your provider gets a more comprehensive picture of what you are feeling. The symptoms you're experiencing could certainly be attributed to the 10 days of severe food poisoning you suffered, but a doctor may also want to do more tests. Either way, I hope you are feeling better soon.

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