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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Atripla and depression
Jun 21, 2009

Hi Ive been taking Atripla for one week now (my first ever ARVs) and have started to become depressed. I suffered very badly from depression about 3 years ago and was treated with CBT and citalopram (20mg a day) which I still take. At that time the treatment worked and I have had no depression for over two years I have continued taking the citalopram however as it is easy, causes me no side effects and Im scared that if I stop the depression will return. I know that Atripla can be associated with depression so assume this is to blame for whats been happening over the past week. Is it likely that the depression will disappear soon as I get used to Atripla? Or should I look to change to another ARV combo? Or increase my dose of citalopram? Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Response from Dr. Henry

You need to inform your HIV provider about the flare-up of depression you are experiencing. Often the central nervous side effects of efavirenz are worse in the first 1-4 weeks and then for most they diminish to baseline. Each person is different so being monitored and considering a change in dose or anti-depression drug as well as counseling are often considered in situations such as yours. In other cases a change to an alternative antiretroviral regimen is the best option (such as to a boosted PI or raltegravir based regimen). KH

Rash due to Atripla part 2
a complicated syndrome

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