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Specific interactions with alcohol
Oct 11, 2006


I am writing a cirriculum for healthcare workers in Southern Africa on the intersection between HIV and alcohol. One of the main areas they want covered is the interaction between the specific antiretrovirals they have available in their area and alcohol.

I understand that minimal use should not be a problem while on treatment and all the research shows that obviously excessive/binge drinking is not recommended for the adherence, toxicity and high risk behavior reasons. However, I have not been able to find specifics on the below drugs (which are placed in the 'no alcohol' category). Can you explain to me what the side effects of the following drugs mixed with alcohol may be so I can pass along specific interactions to the Southern African popluation I am researching for?

EFZ, 3TC, d4T and ZDV/AZT

Thank you very much for your time!

Stephanie Howard

Response from Dr. Henry

To my knowledge the interactions are non-specific. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and can aggravate hepatic steatosis or other liver conditions which may be seen in persons taking drugs like 3TC/D4T and AZT. Alcohol can exacerbate the central nervous system side effects of efavirenz in some patients. Excessive alcohol use can lead to missed doses of HIV medidcations or poor decision making re: unsafe sex or needle use which could lead to acquisition or transmission of HIV including drug resistant strains. I usually recommend that patients on those HIV medications try to limit their alcohol use to 2 or less drinks/day. If a person is hepatitis C positive alcohol significantly impacts the health of the liver and changes for progression. KH

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