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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Stomach pain
Nov 1, 2006

My boyfriend has been HIV positive for 7 years, for the last year and a half he's been taking Truvada + Viramune and I believe he was taking a drug combination with combivir prior to this. In the last few months he has developed severe stomach pain, mainly on the left top part of his stomach but sometimes he says that it is all over. The pain sometimes is constant and it gets worse before it gets better. He's had various tests but they haven't been able to find anything, his Doctor prescribed Omeprazole 20 mg and he's been taking this for at least 3 months now but the symptoms still there. Could this be a side effect to his medicine? or perhaps something more serious?

Thank you for your help.

Ernesto from London UK

Response from Dr. Conway

It is unclear what is causing this. Of the medications, the zidovudine component of the Combivir could be causing this side effect. At times, it is quite reasonable to try something like Omeprazole to see if it will lead to a resolution of the symptoms. Another thing to consider is a blood test for Helicobacter, the bacteria that causes ulcers. If the test is positive, a specific treatment (of 2 week duration) can be given that will almost always be effective. Beyond this, other tests (such as a gastroscopy) may need to be done to determine a specific diagnosis.

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