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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Aug 23, 2006

I am currently taking Sustiva and Truvada. Today my bloods were VL <50, CD4 340 17%. My doctor mentioned that he was concerned with the potassiun levels being low and mentioned changing my meds. I just nodded and pretended I knew what he was talking about. Apparently its the Truvada thats causing this. Is there no other way of resolving this like taking a supplement rather than change my meds that I am happy with and what is he likely to change to. What does potassium do anyway and is it that important. All I know is that its in bananas! Your advice greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Henry

It would be somewhat unusual for tenofovir to cause an isolated low blood potassium level. I have seen low phosphorous levels more often. If the kidney function is otherwise OK (including amount of protein in the urine) and a patient has a mild low potassium level then often dietary or prescription potassium would be recommended and then response observed. Bananas and orange juice are good sources of dietary potassium. Low levels of potassium (such as < 3.0) can cause heart and other problems. Another common cause of low potassium is use of diuretics for blood pressure or other conditions. KH

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Kivexa vs. Truvada

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