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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Panic & Anxiety?
Sep 30, 2002

I have been HIV+ for 12 years now. Currently taking Norvir, Fortovase and Zerit once daily. 1082 T Cells and Undet. Viral Load. However, lately I have been experiencing debilitating panic attacks. This is quite a new experience for me. Have never had this before. In fact the first time I even called 911 and of course was quite embarrassed when they showed up. Panic attack can come on anytime no matter what I am doing. Even if just watching TV. Can this be cause by the medication and its effects on my system as a whole? It is at the point that if I am standing in line at the store I all of a sudden feel closed in, like I am going to pass out in front of everyone, then of course when I start dwelling on it then it get worse. Dr. gave me Ativan which I use sparingly because I heard they can be addictive. So my question is since I have never experienced this in the past could it be caused by the meds and a chemical change in my body? Or do I just need a good therapist? Thank you for your input.

Response from Dr. Henry

It is possible your HIV meds are contributing but if you have been on them for a while without any attackes and you have started no other meds (prescription or othewise ) then the meds seem an unlikely cause. There are several effective psychotropic meds for panic disorder Having a psychiatrist evaluate you might be a good idea. Often treatment with a short acting sedative (such as the Ativan) and an SSRI inhibitor (paxil, zoloft, etc) is effective. KH

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