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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Older PIs
Jun 20, 2003

Do you think everyone should get off the older protease inhibitors (like crixivan) even if they are doing well and if not, why not?

Response from Dr. Conway

In general terms, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". A number of people who started on Crixivan (along with two nucleoside analogues)had good results up to the present time, and have tolerated their regimen with no side effects. What's more, the consumption of their medications three times a day is now fully integrared into their lives. They don't even have to think about it!!! In such situations, a change in therapy may actually destabilize the situation.

This being said, there are a number of alternatives that have become available to simplify the regimen of people on long-term Crixivan therapy. These include ritonavir boosting to allow the Crixivan to be given less frequently (once or teice a day), or a switch of the Crixivan to a non-nucleoside agent (nevirapine or efavirenz) or to abacavir. If this is done while the viral load is undetectable, the risk of the intervention is quite low, as one could always go back to protease inhibitors in the future, if needed.

The key here is to discuss options with the one who has to take all these pills, and to support the decision that they make. There are many right answers.

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