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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
           
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less annoying HIV cocktails
Mar 3, 2004

Hi doc,

In the early 80s, azt was the only drug & overdosed but people always said then as they do now, follow what ur doc. says. i'm not trying to be a wiseguy in asking this but here goes: what's wrong with switching meds every 6 mths so you dont become immune(resistant?)to them, like roach poison for roaches? i know the docs of the 80s say that if you switch so often you'll become resistant more easily & they may be rt., but what about switching every month even. these drugs stay in one's blood stream for at least a week after stopping them. anyhow, is the "resistance" factor the only reason one should NOT switch monthly? And 2, why use more potent drugs if side effects will ruin quality-of-life? Is QUANTITY-of-life considered more important and QUALITY. From everything i read, it seems like that's the underlying presupposition. It's as if the underlying theme is "You'll live with stomach cramps till ur 80, if u stay on these 2 protease inhibitors," the most potent-for-me drugs. Are newer drugs becoming more potent against HIV and less potent in side effects against people and what are they? i know i sound beligerent but i dont mean to be. it gets my questions' points across faster (or so i think).

Response from Dr. Henry

Switching drugs on a regular basis has been tried in a few studies (i.e. the SWATCH study) with some positive results. One problem with switching often is that many of the side effects are worse early and then diminish (so that the average amount of side effects remains high. The development of new drugs is now influenced heavily by the side effect profile so that I expect more user friendly drugs to be a major feature of new drugs. Success rates with new regimens have been steadily improving because of increased simplicity, potency and tolerability. KH



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