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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Muscle and Joint Soreness
Dec 21, 2003

I've been on Sustiva and Combivir for exactly one year. Until a week ago, I have had no side effects at all after the first month. However, I'm now experiencing extreme soreness in my left leg (around the knee and into the calf muscle), so that I can only bend it about 45 degrees from my thigh (I can't touch my buttocks with my foot as I can with the right leg, not even if I pull it back with my hands). The pain I feel is in the muscles, not the knee itself. Also, I am very sore in the neck muscles on the right side, and in my right thumb, which I also have problems bending at the joint. Are these side effects from my drugs, or some other, unrelated problems? It's just rather odd that all of these things have hit me at once. (Also, I'm 32 and otherwise very healthy.)

Response from Dr. Henry

The pattern of pain you describe would be very unlikely to be due to your HIV medications. AZT can cause a diffuse mypathy (muscle enzyme levels in the blood often elevated). I would discuss with your HIV doc and consider a referral to a rheumatologist if he/she is unclear as to what could be triggering/causing your localized pain.


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