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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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HIV Diarrhea is ruining my life!
Sep 27, 2006

Dear Dr,

I am 31 and have been HIV for a very long time, practically growing up with it. I have always been healthy and never gotten sick until recently over the past 2 years. On and off I have had bad diarrhea. More on then off. It is horrible. I lost so much weight, because I don't have an apetite and I go up to 7 times a day. I can't go or do anything, because it can strike me at any time. I have been on a bunch of cocktails. The one I am on now is - Norvir,Prezista, Epzicom. I have been on them for 2 months. My diet is also more limited trying to help this situation and that makes life even harder. I am very depressed, because I see no end in sight. My doctor keeps telling me to give it a couple of more weeks to let the meds kick in, but I don't see it happening having been this way for almost 2 years. Is there ANYTHING you can do to help me? I am not enjoying life at all and want my old life back. If I could get rid of this diarrhea then I could do things and start to put on weight and live normal again. To help fight the diarrhea presently I am taking Lomatril 5 times a day. I think it is helping just a little. Whatever you can do I would appreciate it!

Thank You

Response from Dr. Henry

I assume you have an an extensive GI work-up including looking for lactose deficiency, gluten sensitivity, parasites, etc? There are a number of new HIV medications soon to be available (such as the Merck integrase inhibitor) that should have quite a different effect on the gut than older drugs so options and the chances for a more GI friendly regimen for you will get better. For severe diarrhea other treatments such as tincture of opium or Sandostatin injections have helped some patients as have aggressive use of fiber and calcium supplements. KH

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