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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Can we treat Nausea, Acid Reflux, Over Salivating
Aug 22, 2004

My husband was diagnosed in May, and began drug treatment in July. He is currently taking Combivir (8am/8pm) and Sustiva (9:30pm). We are looking forward to his next set of tests to show the benefits of the treatment. He has bad days, and not so bad days. As the day progresses the nausea increases, he complains of systems similar to acid reflux, and he over salivates. The only way for him to find relief is to force himself to vomit. He tries to hold out until about 7pm so that he can take him nightly Combivir. He's tried crackers, toast, lots of water, perrier, diet coke, smaller meals, we bought low acid orange juice, and it does not seem to help.

Our questions is this, can we treat his G.I. systoms with over the counter products? Pepobismo, Gas-X, Alka-seltzer, etc. I am HIV-negative, and automaticaly go to these products if I have the symptoms he is having. Our PCP tells us to tough it out, but I am concerned about the damage he may be causing when self inducing vomitting.

He does not want to change medication, but we need some options on handling the side effects. I hate to see him suffer.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Response from Dr. Conway

It is a very difficult decision to start medications right after finding out your diagnosis, so you are to be applauded for doing so. As far as the symptoms go, I would first want to make sure that there is not something else going on, such as hepatitis or pancreatitis to account for them. Barring this, it is possibly correct to say that they will go away with time, but I would ask the primary care provider what the rationale may be to not be treating the symptoms as they occur. You are not taking any medications that preclude the use of antacids, or medications like ranitidine or even the prescription proton pump inhibitors. I would thus really encourage you to have this chat with your provider to establish a plan of action that you understand and are comfortable with.

Good luck...

Phenotypic testing
High Load; Sustiva OK?

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