Hair loss and Norvir...Help
Jun 10, 2004
I have been on Norvir, Invirase and Ziagen since 1/02. As of 5/03 I have noticed a significant change in the texture and thickness of my hair. Whenever I wash my hair it comes out in long strands and I find hair on my pillows as well. Due to severe neuropathy in 11/03, my doctor put me on bextra and cellcept and switched me to Zerit. I was unable to tolerate this, so I was placed on Kaletra in 2/04.I am still experiencing hair loss at a very rapid rate. Is there anything that I can do to lessen or stop it, other that switching out meds? My CD4 as of 3/04 was 396 and viral load of 80.
Response from Dr. Conway
This is a difficult question. First, I would want to make sure there is no medical reason for this occurring (such as thyroid or other endocrine problems), so make sure this has been addressed. Other than that, there is a low incidence of hair loss associated with all anti-HIV medications, and it is unpredictable from one case to the next. The common theme in your regimens appears to be Norvir (counting the Norvir as part of the Kaletra), so I might ask you to discuss with your doctor whether a good HAART regimen could be designed for you that do not include Ritonavir. Have you already used non-nucleoside agents?
One other possibility is to stop HAART altogether. This is something that can be considered if your CD4 count has never been below 300. Even if it has, you may be able to stay off treatment for a number of months, as long as your counts are being watched very carefully and you are prepared to restart as soon as your CD4 count is approaching, say, 250. This could help figure out if the meds are associated with your hair loss if it stops while you are off meds.
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