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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Depression & anxiety
Nov 23, 2005

Hi, I have been experiencing a lot of depression/anxiety and insecurities/fear leading to inability to make decisions. I started treatment in Feb on a blind trial which contained combivir and perhaps effavirins or UK427. This was changed in late June to Atazanivir/Ritonovir and Truvada. Although I still appear to have similar feelings. I was put on citalopram antidepressant 3 weeks ago but it appears to be making me more nervous/anxious and unable to make decisions. I also wake up early each morning with anxiety/sweating regardless of the time I go to sleep. So they gave me some diazapam to help. I am also finding my concentration/motivation is poor and my work and life is really suffering as a result. Do you think these are side effects from the meds or could it also linked to life situations as I am having some tricky times in my relationship etc.) Would you suggest changing meds? and if so to which ones? I did start the same antidepresants in July for 2 months but this seemed to make things worse so I stopped. Do you think the citalopram is the wrong one for me? and if so would you suggest alternative(s)? Or should I persist? Many thanks

Response from Dr. Henry

Your current HIV regimen (atazanavir/ritonavir/Truvada) generally does not directly cause or aggravate depression or anxiety though being HIV+ and taking HIV meds can indirectly worsen underlying mental health problems. Getting good counseling and seeing an interested psychiatrist are often helpful over time. KH

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