Could GI symptoms be from long term use of azt?
Aug 6, 2002
I've been infected since 1986 and am pretty healthy. I started meds for hiv with crixivan, 3tc, and azt from the time crixivan was available. Switched to Sustiva and combivir (azt/3tc)back when sustiva was first in trials. Over the past year or so, the sustiva side-effects have once again returned each night (dizzy drunk feeling and wild dreams). I've read many of the responses here that this is unusual, however, most people I speak with on the same combo have likewise experienced a return of these symptoms as well...in any case, I can live with these as I sleep through most of them. However, in the past 8 months, I have experienced major GI symptoms (debilitating daily nausea, occasional abdominal cramping and pain). Over the past 2 months I have had severe reflux problems accompanied by a persistant sore throat. My doc prescribed tagamet and the reflux is under control, but the other gi symptoms persist. Could all of these GI symptoms be related? and could they be due to drug intolerance (my doc thinks it might be from the azt)? Or could it have something to do with lactic acidosis? My labs are otherwise extremely good and I am reluctant to change my meds (t-cells 727, vl undetectable). What do you think?
Response from Dr. Boyle
Your symptoms could be due to many things, but if you have tolerated zidovudine (AZT) for that long I doubt that it is solely an AZT-related problem. I would suggest that you have a thorough physical examination and laboratory evaluation, including lactate and amylase levels and a liver evaluation, and if this does not reveal some possible causes that you consider obtaining an abdominal CT and/or a GI consult. You might also try some treatment for the nausea, such as prochlorperazine or dronabinol.
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