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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
           
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My cocktail treatment
Feb 9, 2003

I am interested in knowing what my drugs actualy do. The drugs I am on are: Stiva Combivir And what are the long term side effets?

Response from Dr. Henry

I assume the Stiva= Sustiva. All 3 of those drugs (combivir = 2 drugs-AZT + 3TC) inhibit a part of the HIV life cycle called reverse transcription which makes viral DNA from RNA (the genes of HIV are carried in RNA strands). The drugs stop new virus production but do not impact resting virus. For Sustiva the major long term side effect is ongoing (usually but not always) mild central nervous system effects (sleep disturbances/dreams etc). For the 3TC + AZT the major long-term concerns are bone marrow problems, muscle problems, fat problems, peripheral neuropathy--all are relatively uncommon. GI upset is a more common problem seen early and usually diminishing with time. KH



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