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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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How can I do this?
Jul 24, 2009

I was recently diagnosed nearly 2 months ago. I just started the medication 4 days ago. I know that is not long, but I am not sure I can make it through this. I have been taking the medication in the evening around 5. I am generally dizzy until I go to bed. Then can't sleep and have dreams. I wake up sick to my stomach and exhausted. Go to work and then...start all over again. I know I cannot continue this for long. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Is there really a chance for a "Normal" life in my future???

Response from Dr. Henry

You don't mention which HIV meds you are taking but from the comment about dizziness/dreams I would guess it is an efavirenz based regimen (such as Atripla) which oftne causes dizziness/dream problems for during the first weeks on treatment. those complaints usually diminish after 2-4 weeks such that perhaps 5-10% continue to have such annoying side effects. taking meds just before bedtime and avoiding fat containing food/snacks in the several hours before taking can help in some cases. I would inform your HIV provider about the problems--sometimes sleep meds or a switch to alternative HIV regimen is needed after complete assessment. Most patients do well after the initial start up difficulties. KH

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