Dec 4, 2003
I was diagnosed with hiv 6 yrs ago. I started on combivir which didn't work fast enough for my doctor so he switched me after 6 mos to Norvir, Fortavase, Zerit, and Videx. My current viral count is undetectible, and my cd-4 count is over 1100. A week ago he switched me to combivir and sustiva due to the ugly fat changes in my body. But after a week I developed a rash all over my chest, stomach, and arms. I contacted my doctor and he told me to stop taking all meds until I can see him 4 days from now. Is that safe? Could the Sustiva be causing the problem? Is there another drug combo I could try that won't have the fatty tissue problem the protease inhibitors did?
Response from Dr. Henry
Rashes with Sustiva are fairly common and can often be treated through (Benadryl, Tylenol might help). Stopping Sustiva and/or 3TC can result in resistance if not done carefully (sequenced stopping or use of another drug of a week). Nevirapine is also used in that setting but with a rash that would not be a good idea (to substitute for Sustiva). Use of one of the newer PIs with perhaps less lipid/fat problems is another option (such as atazanavir or phosamprenavir). If you never have been sick with AIDS and never had a CD4 count < 350 then another issue is whether you should stop your treatment for a while since. I would discuss further with your HIV provider.
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