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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Skin color change
Jul 28, 2010

I have developed very deep red to almost purple skin color from my neck down to my upper chest and shoulders. It appears like a very bad sunburn. In fact, people are always asking me if I've been out in the sun too long. I live in Florida, but do NOT go out in the sun, and my face and arms (which are the only parts of my body exposed when I am outdoors) do not appear red at all. Rest of my body also is normal coloring. The color varies from day to day, but is always present. This began shortly after starting HIV treatment for which I take Epzicom and Kaletra. I also take 20 mg. of Lisinopril, 145 mg. Tricor and topical Androgel daily (all started at the same time as my HIV I am fair-skinned, with red-brown hair, but I have never had this problem before beginning meds 5 years ago. There is no sensitivity, itching or bumps in the area affected. I can't take off my shirt without everyone around me telling me to "get out of the sun because I've been out too long" (and I have not been in the sun for 10 seconds.) Is this possibly a side effect from one of the meds? If so, which one, and are there alternatives?

My doctors (both my primary and dermatologist) don't seem to have any answers, or they don't think it's a big deal. I know it's not life or death, but it's a constant nagging issue that prevents me from being able to go to the beach or a pool or any other event that I would have to take my shirt off. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Response from Dr. Henry

I have had scores of patients on your HIV regimen and have not observed a skin rash as you describe. Possibly you are having an idiosyncratic reaction to one of the components of the regimen-less likely due to the lisonopril or testosterone. Can be a challenge to isolate the offending drug which is one reason I generally try not to start to many drugs at one time. It may be worth stopping the non-HIV drugs for a month to see what happens. if no improvement than could restart and then shift focus to the HIV regimen considering a methodical switching strategy to try and isolate if one drug is the main factor. KH

everyday fever with lymph nodes, now on 6 day with Atripla

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