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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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When to Switch Meds?
Feb 18, 2009

Sir, I have been on the regimen of Combivir and Kaletra for several years. My viral load is undetectable and T-Cell count normal and am otherwise healthy. A year ago I started experiencing muscle pain and weakness in my legs, and, weight loss. This I brought to he attention of my Doctor. I was sent for an MRI which was normal. I was then referred to a nuerologist. All nerve tests reults were normal. I then had a Muscle Biopsy, which again was normal. Finally I was taken off the Combivir/Kaletra regimen and my condition improved. Since then I have learned that my ailments were consistent with the Side Effects of Combivir. Should the Meds switch been the first action taken before the other tests?

Response from Dr. Henry

Generally if a patient develops myopathy or other condition possibly due to AZT (one of components of Combivir) then a switch to an alterantive drug (often nevirapine or abacavir) would be considered in order to preserve the gains made on HIV treatment. Since you are now off meds I would consider restarting a new regimen without AZT and observe whether the muscle difficulties return. KH

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