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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Combivir/Efavirenz - to - Atripla
Jan 30, 2008

I am currently on Combivir/Efavirenz and have been for a while now and my stats all seem good.

However the UK has recently authorised Atripla by the PCT (Primary Care Trust) and I wondered as its 1 pill a day if you would recommend me changing and what the difference side effects wise is, the chance of this regime working etc

Reason I am considering this is because I have had problems with weight loss since starting my meds (4 stone total) and although am maintaining my weight now I always have a swollen stomach like a beer belly but dont drink, I have also had problems with cramps and been told this could be related to the combivir, but dont know if this is true and a known long term or common side effect to it.

Please advise me as I am in for my 3 monthly appointment soon and want to know more info so I can ask my doctor - I worry that if I change it wont work or that I will of wasted a combination therapy and my side effects/stomach & weight problems wont be resolved!

Response from Dr. Henry

Experience from published studies and the clinic support the notion that often there are less GI complaints from use of Atripla compared to Sustiva + Combivir. Also, the tenofovir in Atripla is more fat friendly than the AZT in Combivir so problems with fat loss (lipoatrophy) are somewhat less with Atripla than seen with Combivir + Sustiva. The HIV effectiveness of Atripla is the same or better than observed with Combivir + Sustiva so it has become a staple for initial HIV treatment in the US. KH

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