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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Can I take a Break from Meds?
Apr 1, 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

I am not comfortable recommending stopping HIV Meds for persons with a nadir (lowest before therapy) CD4 count of 200 or less due to concern about rapid return to that level (putting a patient at risk for AIDS-related problems)and lack of data about ability to recover CD4 count a second time. Your HIV specialist may be able to offer sugggestions about changing your HIV regimen to one which perhaps could be simpler or have fewer side effects. KH

cryptococcal meningitis Resistant to Protease Inhibitors
Viread and urinary problems

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