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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Rash and Atripla
Aug 12, 2008

Hi, First, thank you very much for providing ongoing and relevant information for living with HIV. I had previously been taking HAART - a combo of Ritonavir,Truvada & Atazanavir for 8 months. I'm compliant with Rx use and had weathered some side effects from them in the first month. I recently asked my physician about switching to Atripla, mainly due to single dosing convenience and the ease of taking medications with me when traveling. However, after approximately 10 days I find that I have developed a rash which covers my back, legs and hands and is proving to be itchy. I am currently taking antihistamine for this, and it appears to be helping somewhat. I also notice a rather unpleasant groggy feeling from this medication as well as some noted difficulty with sleep. I take this medication at 8 PM. My CD4 is approximately 350 and have no detectable viral load. My question is; is it possible that the rash will improve or disappear within the next few days or weeks and if the grogginess will (hopefully)greatly diminish over time? I am extremely compliant with meds, have a very active life with work and exercise and generally dedicate a great deal of time to my health. Thanks for any opinion or assistance you might be able to provide - it is much appreciated.

Response from Dr. Henry

You are likely experiencing several of the more commom side effects of Atripla (due to the efavirenz) which are fatigue (sleep/brain abnormalities including grogginess) and rash. Both general resolve over the first 2-4 weeks and generally don't result in stopping or switching off the efavirenz (< 10%). KH

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