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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Beer with Meds
May 17, 2006

I have been using Combivir & Sustiva for 4 years and in the evening I will drink 2 or 3 beers. I have not had any side effects, any worse than the terrible dreams with Sustiva. My doctor is now wanting to switch me to: Combivir, Reyataz, & Norvir. What are the possible side-effects? I am so afraid of beginning the Norvir & Reyataz, and have tried to read-up on their side-effects without the beer. The beer seems to relax me so that I can sleep. I lost my husband October 2005 from HIV & Lympo Cancer, and am very stressed and afraid at this point. I am so afraid that I have thought about giving up all of my medications because of the side-effects; even though the out-come will be far worse than any side-effects. Please help me on both issues.

Response from Dr. Henry

I have many patients on ritonavir-boosted Reyataz based HIV therapy and most tolerate it just fine. Many regularly enjoy 1-2 beers on a daily basis and have no problems. If you have hepatitic C or other liver conditions alcohol is more of an issue. KH

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