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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Mar 28, 2002

Have been on therapy for six years switched combinations a few times always included Zerit . Present Viread, Zerit and Ziagen. T-cells aprox 300 VL under 400 but have increasing neuropathy and it seems to not be confined to the feet face seems to get tingly and usually feel just broken . I took a half of my wifes codein containing pain med ( she had a broken foot and never took the medication) after a short while I felt rather good and since have occasionaly taken a small dose ( for her it was two pills twice a day for pain ) I take one half to one third once a day perhaps once or twice a week. Mentioned this to my Dr. and he said he ha no problem in prescribing a Codein based pain medication Vicodin for the side effects of the Zerit. Finally the question is this at all a common practice and are there any warnings ( aside from the potental habituation from the Codein)?

Response from Dr. Henry

Relief of pain is a very important objective. Judicious use of narcotics is often warranted for pain relief. The concern is if the pain is chronic and narcotic use is chronic then that can lead to an addiction. If there are no other options then that is acceptable. Since your neuropathy likely is related to the Zerit (seeing a neurologist to pin down the type and cause of neuropathy is a good idea), then a switch to another medication might help (often but not always the pain can get better if drug related). Use of drugs such as Neurontin, Motrin type drugs, topical drugs like lidocaine-all can help. Use of acupuncture/message helps some. Use of alternative meds such as L-carnitine, NAC, co-enzyme Q, calicum, magnesium supplements helps some patients. Checking for vitamin B12 deficiency (also folate) is often worthwhile. Often some combination of those approaches helps some with occasional narcotic use to ease a bad night is what patients benefit from. KH

Weaking up to numbness
Swollen Parotid Glands

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