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Treatment interruptions
Oct 28, 2004

I have recently come across research studies on interrupted medication regimes ie two weeks on and two weeks off, or five days on and two days off, which suggest that there is no detrimental effect on viral load or CD4. I am quite excited with these findings as there are enormous benefits in terms of cost savings and convenience. My doctor is not so excited as he is concerned that any relaxation of the rigid daily regime will undermine overall adherence. What do you think?

Response from Dr. Henry

Two weeks on and two weeks off is not recommended though the strength of the recommendation depends on which drugs a person is taking and what the treatment history is. There is a high level of concern about increasing resistance rates. The weekend off (5 on 2 off) approach has been looked at in a very small study and is nowhere near ready for prime time. Treatment interrruption studies have failed more often then not so the concept has to be considered experimental and risky at the present time. There are numerous studies underway that may clarify the risks and benefits over the next several years but for most patients it is wise to continue treatment. KH

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