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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Sustiva dreams/electric sheep
Jul 7, 2005

I have been taking Sustiva for over a couple of years now (with Combivir). While I have always had vivid dreams, I have found that my dreams are extremely vivid these days. As a creative person I have found this to not be a problem, however sometimes the dreams are extremely violent and sometimes I even end up falling out of bed. Sometimes they are so vivid that I am not sure whether they are dreams or actual memories. Does this side effect fade away over time? Are some people more susceptible than others?...I am a little worried that my personality may be changing, could I get more anxious, depressed or violent? You will notice the negative spin, I certainly am not ecstatic! All in all I like the dreams, even the scary ones - one last thing, they seem to be even more interesting when I have smoked a joint before bedtime!

Response from Dr. Conway

This is almost certainly a side effect of Sustiva, made worse by the fact that you have a predisposition to vivid dreams and that you may be smoking marijuana at bedtime. I am more concerned at your other reports of personality changes....This is more serious, and could progress to significant psychiatric disease. As you have been on Sustiva for a couple of years now, I would not expect this to fade over time anymore. There are many other medication choices for you out there, and you could make a single drug switch of Sustiva for Reyataz, for instance and stay with a simple, low pill count regimen that will maintain virologic suppression. You should think of such a switch, for your own long-term health.

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