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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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3rd week Sustiva
Aug 26, 2008

Dear Doc,

First of all thank you very much to all people involved in maintaining this forum, it's an extremely helpful resource.

Ive started Sustiva + Kivexa 18 days ago, with CD4 450 - % 12, VL 20.000. The first week went relatively fine, I actually felt I had more energy, the only SE were minor sleep disturbances and dizziness. On week 2 I developed a rash on chest, arms and ears, and the dizziness/ drunk / foggy feeling became more severe. By week 3 the rash is practically gone, instead I feel itchy all over my body and I started having serious insomnia / anxiety that kicks in 2 hours after taking the meds at 9.30pm on an empty stomach. My body feels tired but I spend the whole night scratching and feeling restless, for a few hours my concentration feels sharper than during the day and I only manage to fall asleep for 3 hours after 7.00am, when the anxiety/insomnia seems to fade away. During the day I dont feel anxious ( just cranky, groggy and tired from the restless night ), and I can easily manage to take a short nap after lunch. My life is on hold during the day, so Im thinking that I maybe should switch Sustiva to the AM, do you think its still too early to try this strategy? If yes how should I do it? Would it be ok to take Sustiva at 5 pm and the next day at 8 am to adjust to AM dosing? Ive tried benzos in the past and they give me very poor quality of sleep and a hangover feeling, what else would you recommend to get me through the night ( that can be prescribed in Europe )?

Your advice is very much appreciated. Thank you! A.

Response from Dr. Henry

You sound like you are exhibiting a portfolio of efavirenz related side effects. Switching to AM dosing works for some patients (OK to make the switch as you describe). Trazadone and amitryptiline or similar psychotropic drugs in low/moderate doses sometimes are helpful in helping patients sleep better during the first months on efavirenz. KH

yellow on reyataz
Vitamin B. The Liver and Atripla

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