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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Best treatment for Neuropathy
Aug 7, 2003

In your opinion, what is the best treatment for neuropathy?

Response from Dr. Conway

Neuropathy may be due to a number of things:

1. Side effect of a drug (such as didanosine or stavudine).

2. HIV disease itself

3. A complication of HIV disease

4. Something else

The first thing is to figure out which one of the four things it is. The "something elses" would have to be addressed, as many would require a specific treatment of some sort. The same would apply to some of the complications of HIV disease that may be associated with neuropathy.

If the neuropathy relates to the side effect of one of the components of HAART, consideration should be given to changing the offending drug. If the plasma viral load is suppressed, a single drug substitution may be possible.

If the above are excluded (or a change in drug therapy is not feasible), simple measures are best. Non-narcotic analgesics, amitryptiline and gabapentin come to mind as possible therapeutic interventions that have met with success. Narcotic analgesics should be avoided when possible, as they are not particularly effective in many cases,and their use may create a problem of dependancy that wans't present in the first place.

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