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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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meds that cross blood brain barrier
Oct 23, 2003

I have been positive for over 10 years. I am on salvage therapy (DDI-Kaletra-T20-3TC-Viread-Reyataz). Can you tell me if any of these drugs can get into the brain? I used to be on AZT but am resistant-However I felt my mind was clearer when I was on that med. I have heard even if you are undetectable-HIV is still damaging the brain

Response from Dr. Conway

I will answer your question in three ways.

First, I will say that, in your regimen, the 3TC and Reyataz most reliably penetrate into the brain.

Second, I will agree with you that HIV sometimes does ongoing damage to the brain, even when it is not doing damage anywhere else.

BUT (and thirdly), as long as the virus circulates freely between the brain and the blood (which it tends to do), it could be drawn out of your brain as the drugs effectively clear the virus from your plasma. The viruses that were hiding out in your brain could therefore be "zapped" by all the drugs in your blood.

So, I would, for now, wait to see how things go on this regimen. It is entirely possible that if it suppresses plasma virus, it will have a beneficial effect on the virus everywhere in your body, including your brain.

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