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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Changes in Bowel Movements
Aug 12, 2007

I was placed on Truvada and Lexiva. I was very tolerant when I was taking that combination. Recently, Norvir was added. Once I began taking the Norvir, I started having bouts of diarrhea. I understand that diarrhea can be a side effect of these medications. My concern is that the diarrhea is a dark green in color. It is not black, just dark green. Is this something I should be concerned about? I have not changed my diet.

Response from Dr. Henry

Many patients have loose stools when taking ritonavir. Gut transit time can be increased in some patients which may alter stool color (which can be impacted by bile content). Blood from the upper GI tract can result in dark oolored stools so you may should discuss with your HIV specialist if stool color abnormalities persist and/or you develop other stomach/gut complaints. Gut motility agents, fiber supplements, calcium supplements, and other modalities can help individual patients better handle loose stools triggered by ritonavir. For some patients the stool effects of ritonavir seem to decrease after the first several months. KH

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