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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Feb 11, 2003

I'm a bit frustrated. Make that VERY frustrated. I've known about my HIV status for 16 years and my t-cells dipped to 60. My condition has significantly improved since the advent of protease inhibitors. I'm on AZT, Crixivan and Epivir.

I've had problems sleeping for over ten years now. I was prescribed Xanax and became addicted to it. Withdrawal was difficult. I've now been on nightly Ambien for 1 1/2 years and am now addicted to 10 mg. per night. I can't sleep without it. I can't even nap. I'm afraid of stopping it, even though it's not working as effectively anymore. I started adding a benedryl which helps me sleep better. Unfortunately, I'm exhausted, weak, mentally confused and my quality of life has gone downhill.

Any suggestions to ease withdrawal from Ambien? How will I sleep if I stop the drug? My initial insomnia started when my viral load was high and I started on Epivir. I've heard that Epivir can cause insomnia. I would love to know the cause of my insomnia and how I might treat it without getting addicted to a sleep medication.

Response from Dr. Henry

I would recommend discussing with your HIV doc and consider seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist for assistance in switching to a different sleep pattern. There are some meds (alternative= melatonin; prescription = meds like trazadone, amitryptiline and others). Since you are doing well-which is great--it is important to be able to sleep well for the many years ahead! You might want to also check your testosterone and thyroid levels. KH

Trial And Error per MD!
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