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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Out with AZT?
May 14, 2003

Hello - I was diagnosed + in 1997 and was put on Viracept, Epivir and Zerit. The cocktail worked great for 5 years, but then the side effects - high blood pressure, peripheral neuropathy, lypodistrophy/lypoatrophy and diarrhea became too much and my doctor switched me to Trizivir. Unfortunately, Trizivir didn't supress the virus as well and after 6 months my dr. added Viramune to the mix. I've been on it for one week and we'll see how it goes. My question to you is - if the new combination works and takes me to undetectable, should I ask my dr. to take the AZT out of the mix as well and perhaps substitute Viread? I am exhibiting the first signs of anemia - based on blood work and how I feel - and I also want to avoid the facial wasting that seems to result from using AZT. Thanks for your help!

Response from Dr. Henry

Switching off a thymidine analog is a common manuever these days as one attempts to minimize lipoatrophy (not proven to work but some data suggests such a switch can be helpful). If anemia develops then that strengthens the case to switch off the AZT so you interest in a switch to tenofovir seems reasonable depending on further details of your situation. KH

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