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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Onset of Sustiva side effects after 2 years
Dec 17, 2004


I have been diagnosed HIV+ since 1998 and have been on HARRT since that time. My viral load had been undetectible since I started HARRT, and my CD4 count has ranged between 550-900 (last one was 700) during the course of my treatment. I have been very healthy during HARRT and most of my life. I started a Sustiva/Epivir/Zerit reginem about two years ago, then switched to an easier to manage Sustiva/Epivir/Viread regimen maybe one year ago. I had virtually no noticeable side effects with Sustiva when I started taking the drug, but ove the last half year I have noticed difficulty getting up in the mornings, being extremely groggy during the first hour I'm up, then feeling foggy-headed until late in the afternoon. These symptoms appear to be getting more intense over the past few months. My question is, is it possible for one to have an onset of side effects to Sustiva after having no side effects during the first year and a half of treatment? I've tried changing the time I take my meds with no resolution to these symptoms. Thanks for any insight you may offer.


Response from Dr. Henry

Although what you have experienced is not the "usual" Sustiva pattern it does occur. Sometimes it has been aggravated by changes in diet, timing of doses, or use of new meds that interact with Sustiva in the liver area. Checking a Sustiva level might show a high level which would support Sustiva as the culprit. Carefully switching to an alterative drug for 1-2 months often is a worthwhile step if there are no other explanations forthcoming (I often have a pharmacologist review the situation to help me out). KH

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