|weird side effects with HIV treatment
May 19, 2004
I have been HIV+ for 12 years. I've have been on the epivir, viramune and abacavir for the last 2 years. For about the last year I have been experiencing very intense itching on different parts of my body. When I scratch it a rash appears. I have seen a dermatologist who prescribed some creme for the itching. This stops it almost immediately, but doesn't keep it from starting later. I have stopped taking my meds several times as a result of this. About a month after I stop the itching stops. I know I can't continue to stop and start my meds. During the times when I'm on my meds my CD4 is good and viral load undetectable. I have always been able to keep decent counts on both these fronts. I haven't heard of this side effect the way I'm haven't from anyone else I know on these drugs. Have you ever heard of this before? What do you think about the starting and stopping. When I do take my meds I never miss a dose. When I stop, I stop them all at once. My doctor isn't thrill about this but understands it's a quality of life issue for me. One more thing. Can you take a genotype test with out being on your meds? Would it be accurate? Can't wait for your reply.
| Response from Dr. Henry
Dermatographism is the phenomenon of when scratching or stroking the skin a rash appears. The cause is often unknown but sometimes is due to a drug allergy. Treatment with antihistamines (including sometimes cimetidine) like hydroxyzine sometimes helps. If you have no history of HIV with resistance then a complete overhaul of your regimen might be worth trying (i.e. getting off the viramine and/or abacavir). I don't recommend starting and stopping a regimen with either abacavir or viramune in most cases (consider a boosted PI regimen?). Getting a genotype off treatment is helpful if resistance is found but is not conclusive if no resistance. KH
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