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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Weakness and digestive problems
Apr 11, 2001

I have been on Combivir and Viracept for over a year and a half. In the last few months, I have experienced weakness in my arms and legs, sometimes severe. I am often overcome with fatigue associated with an onset of indigestion. On occasion my heart rate is increased and I become very warm. This lasts for about 45 minutes, and go away faster if I lie down. My heart and blood pressure are fine. My doctor took me off my medications for a month to see if it was caused by the combivir or viracept, but my episodes continued. So he put me back on my medications. Do you have any suggestions to what might cause my symptons? I am especially curious as to what tests you would run, esspecially related to my HIV infection and my current medications. Thank you for your Time.

Response from Dr. Boyle

Fatigue and a feeling of weakness are two of the most bothersome problems patients with HIV encounter. I presume your physical exam and labs (including CD4 and viral load) are OK since you don't mention them, but common problems which cause your symptoms include HIV itself, medications (especially AZT-a component of Combivir), endocrine problems (especially thyroid or gonadal disorders), psychiatric disorders (especially depression), and anemia (again associated with AZT). The problem could also be cardiac, neurologic or rheumatologic in origin, although you don't give enough history to evaluate that. If your doctor has already evaluated all of these things and they are normal, I would work on symptom control or try another antiretroviral regimen. Good Luck.

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