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Atripla constipation?
May 30, 2008

I am a 43 year old male diagnosed HIV+ in 11/03. Ive been taking Sustiva & Truvada, now Atripla since 9/04 with good results. In addition, I take 4g daily Omega 3 fish oil in order to keep triglycerides in check also with good results. My problem is severe constipation which started about two years ago. I eat a well balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables as well as daily exercise consisting of 2+ miles on a treadmill. Ive gradually increased my daily fiber intake to between 35 and 40 grams with absolutely no effect. The increased fiber only makes me bloated with severe gas. I dont want to become dependant upon laxatives so I only take them every 7 to 10 days which of course means a bowel movement only once every 7 to 10 days. Needless to say a bowel movement once every 10 days can get mighty uncomfortable. Could some component of the Atripla be causing the constipation? Or is it possible the Omega 3 fish oil could be the culprit? Thanks for your help.

Response from Dr. Henry

Constipation has not been commonly linked to any of the components of Atripla or fish oil. Also, I have not had patients in our clinic on those meds report constipation other than sporadically. Thyroid disorders can sometimes do that as can a variety of metabolic, neurologic, or anatomic conditions. It is possible that you have an idiosyncratic reaction to one of your meds (meaning fairly unique for yourself) that could only be pin pointed by a careful switching of drugs in a methodical manner. Many drugs can contribute to constipation so a review of all drugs is important.Increase water intake and use of active culture yogurt as well as a work up by a GI specialist may helpful. KH

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