Can I take a Break from Meds?
Feb 23, 2005
Thanks for the great resource!
I've been positive for 5 years and currently (past 3 years) take Kaletra, Viriad, Videx, and AndroGel. I find most bothersome the residual shingles pain, diarreah, fatigue, depression (citalopram), anxiety (lorazipam), and some blurred vision from "enlarged optic nerves" there are other, more tolerable, side affects.
My CD-4 count is 490 and my viral load is <500, it always has been between 200-500 while I am on meds. I would like to take a break from meds to make school more manageable but have been told that because my CD-4 count was at 200 prior to treatment it is not recommended and if I do, the next treatment may not have optimal results. I have resistance only to the first drug I was on, Combivir, which was discontinued due to liver problems, which have since resolved.
Response from Dr. Henry
When effective HIV therapy is stopped generally the C4 count will fall towards the nadir and the HIV level will increase to the level present before treatment. A small subset of patients will experience symptoms mimicing acute antiretroviral syndrome. The safety and advisability of stopping therapy varies widely based on past treatment history, resistance status, and what the current regimen consists of. It is unclear which of your current symptoms are do to any of your specific or combined HIV meds. Stopping meds would help sort that out which is helpful in some situations. Generally when treatment is restarted virus can be suppressed again if drugs chosen carefully in situations such as yours. KH
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