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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Vision problems and Fatigue
Apr 13, 2010

I was diagnosed positive in November 2009. I have been on treatment with Atripla since that time. I am undetectable with a Tcell count around 600. While it seems that the end all be all for treatment is to remain undetectable I am worried about a couple of side effects I am noticing. My vision is getting blurry at times. I have never worn glasses or had any eye trouble.

The second is that my fatigue is so bad sometimes it sends me to the couch after work. I am very active and am used to being outside in a variety of activities. General muscle weakness seems to also be accompanying this. I am used to working out, but now notice that gaining any strength seems to be impossible.

I meet with my team in a week. I am just looking for ways to express my worries without seeming over anxious. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Henry

Eye problems directly related to Atripla are unusual whereas vision changes are fairly common in general population so a good eye check up (for glaucoma, presbyopia and other conditions) is warranted. Sometimes Atripla can tip a patient towards diabetes so a check of blood sugar and renal funcition is recommended. Effective control of HIV infection usually improves quality of life and lessens fatigue. Fatigue is common in general population due to a wide range of factors (poor sleep, stress, depression, anemia, vitamin D deficiency, low testosterone levels, low thyroid levels and many others) so a good general medical evaluation is warranted. Some patients can have chronic fatigue worsened by efavirenz and less often tenofovir in the Atripla but that scenario is not very common but merits consideration if not other explanation found. KH

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