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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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concentration and combivir / efavirenz
Jul 22, 2005

I have a history of insomnia and problems with my concentration span / anxiety that I have been unable to get resolved with GP. I have also lost over 13kg in body weight in the last 6 months. I have also just started haart (combivir/effavirez) with a cd4 level of 100 (cd4 was 200 three weeks previously, VL >1M). Liver enzymes were elevated prior to treatment.

I have had no physical side effects from these drugs apart from dizziness for the first couple of evenings. However my normally tenuous ability to concentrate has been finally destroyed. My work in research requires me to concentrate and on raising these concerns with my consultant the suggestion was to take 2 4 weeks off sick. Because of numerous illnesses in the last 6 months (PCP etc) and deadlines that are immovable, I do not consider this a viable choice.

I realise that not only the drugs but also work related stress are antagonising a long standing condition. However I feel as if I am running out of options.

Any suggestions?

Response from Dr. Henry

If you are having problems that are likely related to or aggravated by Sustiva after 4-6 weeks on the drug then a switch to an alternative drug (often a boosted protease inhibitor but sometimes nevirapine) is often a strong consideration depending on your past treatment and resistance history. KH

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