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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
May 2, 2007


Thank you for the work you do. I have a question about lowering cholesterol. I have been on HIV meds for almost two years. I started on Truvada/Sustiva and recently switched to Atripla. They have been working very well to control my HIV. My cholesterol was tested recently and both the LDL and triglycerides were high. Fortunately, the HDL was in a good range. I believe this elevation is due more to recent diet than meds. After discussing it with my doctor, we decided that I would try adjusting my diet and exercise before starting any statin drugs. I have been focusing on eliminating trans fat and limiting saturated fat in my diet and increasing the amount of exercise I get daily. I know it has been suggested that fish oil supplements can help lower triglycerides - are these safe with HIV meds and how much should I take. Also, I have heard that red yeast rice can help lower cholesterol. Do you have any information as to whether this is safe to take with HIV meds? I would like to avoid cholesterol medication if at all possible. Thank you for your help.

Response from Dr. Henry

Diet, exercise, and fish oil supplements (often in doses of omega 3 fish oil @ 2-4 grams/day can be helpful in lowering elevated triglyceride levels in persons with HIV infection. KH

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