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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Jandice w/ Reyataz
Aug 6, 2004


I recently switched therapy from Sustiva, Viread and Emtriva to Reyataz/r (boosted w/ Norvir), Viread and Emtriva. I made this switch to get away from the symptoms associated with the "sustiva crazies".

After a week of pretty severe headaches passed, I hoped the side effects of the new switch were over. I noticed this weekend however, slight yellowing of the skin and eyes. I know there is no serious risks associated with the elevated bilirubin. My question is though, is this something that might resolve itself or in your experience, once the sensitivity is manifested with Reyetaz does the side effect ever improve or go away? I am also curious if there are any ways to improve the situation (i.e., milk weed thistle) or on the contrary, things that might exacerbate the situation (i.e, alcohol consumption)?

I am generally happy with the combination other than this annoying side effect (read: socially challenging - "what's up with that dude's eyes? You think he's a pot head?"). I'd really like to be able to stay with this combination for some reason...everything I have read (and there isn't much I know) about the combo is very encouraging. I am also happy about the announcement of Truvada which will combine my Viread and Emtriva - do you know when this will hit pharmacy and patients?

Thanks for your help and insight!

Response from Dr. Henry

I have not heard of any reliable safe method to bring down elevated bilirubin levels in the setting of atazanavir therapy. I have had several patients slowly drop to a more acceptable levels when followed. I often check the total and indirect bilirubin levels after 4 weeks of therapy. Both Truvada (FTC/tenofovir) and Epzicom (3TC/abacavir) were approved early this week as once a day NRTI backbone medications and should be available within several weeks. KH

Weatk Strain?
medication change

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