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Lactic Acidosis=Death?
Jun 15, 2003

Hello -

I'm a 32-year old man who's been poz for 14 years (yes, since I was 17 or 18). Though I've managed to hang on more or less through the years, the last few have brought serious problems with various organs, most notably pancreatitis and liver and kidney failure. My virus has not been under control since '97 as I have serious resistance to all currently available meds (inc. T-20).

Currently I'm going through my 2nd round of liver failure this year (and it's only June!) with drastically elevated liver enzyme numbers, and also very serious lactic acidosis. To the point where my doctor has advised me to"get my life in order" as without a major turn-around in these numbers, I probably have only from weeks to months left to live.

My doctor is not an alarmist, and is, in fact, highly respected in the HIV/AIDS circles of SF. I do not doubt his prognosis. What I wonder about is if there's anything I can be doing to help move these numbers in the right direction.

So far, we've cut out all HAART drugs, leaving the bare minimum of prophylaxis-type and treatment-type drugs, principally valcyte (which has failed in conjunction with my gancyclovir implant to get my CMV Retinitis under control).

At the advise of my liver specialist, I've been taking Urso250 for several months, and my primary doc has me doing baking soda (1 t./8oz water) 2x/day to try to lower the acidosis. We did this bicarb treatment once before when I was hospitalized for kidney failure and acidosis in 2002. I'm religiously following this protocol, though drinking the bicarb solution nearly makes me want to throw up. I'm wondering if there are any additional things I might be trying to get both the liver numbers and the acid level down. Would exercise help or hurt? If helpful, aerobic or resistance? Increased hydration? Dietary changes? Sorry...I'm kinda desperate here. Considering I'm apparently so close to death, I feel more or less OK - not particularly "well", but I've spent entire years feeling much much worse - is this normal?

Thanks for your assistance!

brian

Response from Dr. Henry

Liver failure in the setting of AIDS is a tough situation. I can not endorse any alternative medications in the face of liver failure as truly effective. Jon Kaiser's book Healing HIV and the website www.daair.org have some useful suggestions for trying to improve liver health. KH



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