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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Jan 5, 2003

Dear Dr,

I started on Crixivan, Norvir & Stocrin in June 2001. The meds tripled my cholesterol levels witin 5 months and my doctor prescribed Lipitor. About 3 weeks after I started the Lipitor I could hardly move my arms due to severe muscle pains in my shoulders every time I lifted my arms. The Lipitor was immediately stopped, but there was no improvement at all.

In June 2002 I stopped all meds for a three month period due to financial reasons. After about 6 weeks the pains in my shoulders was much less and after three months the improvement was almost 80.

In September 2002 I started my treatment again and within one month I was back where I was in June with regard to the muscle pains in my shoulders. My partner is on the same treatment and is experiencing exactly the same symptoms.

I have discussed this with my doctor, but he said that as far as he knows that these pains are not side effects of the meds that we are using.

What I don't understand is why did the pain improve when I stopped taking the meds and intesified again once I started the treatment again. My partner has never stopped his meds and his pain level never dropped.

I have tried to do some research on my own, but every expert seems to be of the opinion that the meds cannot cause this type of side effect. Do you know how one can rule out the meds as the cause with a 100 certainty?

Response from Dr. Henry

It is hard from your description to identify whether the pain is joint, muscle, or nerve in origin. Were your muscle enzyme levels checked to see if you were having any sigh of myopathy? HAd you been on any meds previously? If you had never taken any HIV meds previously then you should have lots of options for alternative regimens which could be considered and observe if the shoulder pain recurs. Otherwise you might consider seeing a neurologist and/or rhematologist to more fully evalute the complaint of shoulder pain. KH

Increased side effects with 1-pill Sustiva tablet?
should this still be happening

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