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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Leg & foot muscle cramping and twitching.
May 11, 2003


I've been positive for 20 yrs and on meds for about 18. Now on Sustiva, Kaletra, Fortavase, 3TC. I also take Lipidil Supra, Meprone and Lozec to control side effects of these drugs. I Recently stopped Tenofovir due to the onset of kidney failure as a side effect of this drug. I was in a drug trial for Tenofovir for over 1 year. I have been experiencing continueous, painfully unbearable leg and foot cramps, especially at night for about that long. But I had occasional cramping for years before which got progressively worse and occurred more often.

At first, my doctor suggested I stop taking Zerit. The cramps lessened for a while and then returned. Then he did a battery of tests and prescribed Quinine. Again they lessened briefly and came back with a vengance. Now he says as a result of Tenofovir and the kidney problems it caused, I was experiencing the symptoms of kidney disease, one of which is cramping. It's been 3 months since I've stopped the Tenofovir and and cramps lessened and now are worsening again. At this point, I want to know what other medication I'm presently on that can contribute, even in the slightest, to this cramping. I feel this is as unacceptable a side affect as kidney failure and am unable to put up with it any longer and want to quit any medication that may contribute to it, even if it means compromising my health. I can't live like this any longer... Not only are my muscles sore but I haven't slept in a long, long time.

I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have.

Response from Dr. Henry

I would see a neurologist to better define the nature of the neuropathy. HIV can cause neuropathy as can some vitamin deficiencies, kidney problems, and other infections. 3TC can aggravate neuropathy while the other meds are involved more rarely. I am not familiar with some of the other meds you are taking. Diagnosis of the cause of neuropathy and effective treatment can be a major challenge which is why I often get an HIV interested neurologist involved to help out. KH

Advice please
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