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PEP Side Effects
Jul 1, 2002


Some background info:

In December 2001-January 2002I had mono. The mono was bad enough that it sent me to the hospital because I had very low blood pressure, severe liver and gall bladder complications, as well fever, swollen neck glands, fatigue, sore-throat, headache, etc. It was called something like mono-hepatitis. On May 18, 2002 I was given protective oral sex as well as gave protective vaginal intercourse to a stripper. I noticed something red on my t-shirt, which although it might have been lip-stick, I didn't want to take any chances. About 44 hours later, I started PEP (Combivir), which was prescribed by a doctor in the ER room. I saw my regular doctor later that day, and he wasn't really happy that I had started that treatment, since I had problems with my liver due to the mono. H tested me for HIV that day, which eventually turned out negative. I continued the PEP treatment for 4 days, taking 2 Combivir pills a day. On the fourth day I started getting really sick, talked with another doctor, since my regular doctor was out of town, and he recommened I stop taking the treatment. I have since had on/off - diareaha, nausea, headahes, stiff neck (which may be do to the fact that I keep checking myself for swollen glands), and tingling sensations. No known fever, swollen glands, or weight loss. I have no idea if this is from the 4 day (8 pill) Combivir treatment I took, or an HIV or other infection.

I am not sure if the background information was necessary, but I thought I would add it anyway.

My question:

Where can I find any information, if any exists, on the short/long term side effects of Combivir if used for a very short time (4 days), since it appears most of the information is for people already fighting the virus or people that have completed a full 28 day PEP program?

I would think that with most medications, the shorter period of time you are on the medication, the less side effects you would have. However, I would also think there might be medications where it doesn't matter how much medicine you take, you might still have the same side effects.

Thanks for your help.

Response from Dr. Boyle

The best place to look for this kind of information is in the package insert, which is available online or in the PDR. That said, I think it is extremely unlikely that your current problems are related to the Combivir and you should be evalauted for other medical issues that are much more likely to be responsible.

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