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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Severe Nausea and Heartburn
Dec 21, 2003

I have been on Kaltra and Combivir for 30 days. I was diagnosed with AIDS 5 weeks ago. CD4 140; VL 137,000. I am nauseous all day and have heartburn when lying down. Is there anything I can do to ease these side effects?

Response from Dr. Henry

Upper GI complaints such as yours are fairly common with that combination-particularly in the first months. I trust you are taking with food. For the nausea I often try Reglan, Marinol or compazine. For heartburn (I often sense that the alcohol content of the Kaletra causes some localized irritation to the stomach which can increase reflux). I often try a trial of ranitidine, cimetidine, or pepcid(over the counter or by prescription) especially at night. Raising the head of the bed can help. If symptoms persist I refer to a GI doc for endoscopy to see if there is some other specific problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated. If the GI complaints persist and are likely due to one of your HIV drugs after several months then I would consider switching to a drug that you might tolerate better. KH

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