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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Facial Flushing
May 24, 2007

I am on a regimen of Reyataz, Viread, Epivir and Norvir. I also take Ambien, Lipitor and Altace.

In the past year and a half I've had 6-month long stretches of facial flushing which not only make me look sunburned, but interferes with my thought processes. I have a hard time thinking when I'm flushed.

I also suffer with diarrhea that is sometimes explosive.

I did a search on this site to see what might cause these symptoms and carcinoid syndrome was a possible cause.

That is scary. How do I get my doctors to explore this? Obviously, I don't WANT this to be true, but if it is true, I want it addressed.

My viral load is undetectable and my t-cells are around 900 , after being as low as 60 and under 150 for several years before the advent of protease inhibitors. I've been poz for 21 years.

I smoke. Not much, but when I do I tend to chain cigarettes. Now I flush immediately upon taking a drag on a cigarette. THAT is upseting, too. It's cut down on my smoking, but has me concerned.

Any thoughts?

Response from Dr. Henry

Norvir (ritonavir ) can cause facial flushing and loose stools as well as exacerbate the effect of many other medications/chemicals on the gut and elsewhere in the body. A thorough history and physical examination often will shed some light on alternative explanations for your symptoms. I have had several patients develop a sensitivity to nicotine with flushing when taking ritonavir. KH

RE: "Gut" issues

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