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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Problem with Atripla
Sep 1, 2010

I started therapy with Atripla on August 14 and after 10 days I developed a rash. Reading the side effects of Atripla I noticed it happens quite frequently. On August 26 I went to my doc and he ordered me to stop immediately Atripla. I know that this is necessary only in rare cases and that although the rash is diffused also on the feets and hands, inside and outside, I don't know it was a good idea to stop therapy. I get my blood exams today with chemistry and immunologic values. No CD4 or HIV viral load test was ordered. Some abnormal lab values are present. Neutrophils 77,5% - Lymphocites 19% - eosinophilic cells 0,7%. Blood chemistry has an abnormal read in RDW which is 14,6%. What is happenining? My next appointment with my doc is on September 2 and I'm now 4 days off meds. What are the risks in developing resistance? Please help!

Response from Dr. Henry

I generally treat through efavirenz related rash unless very severe and concern about lungs/mucousal services. Stopping Atripla can lead to resistance so providing a tail for coverage of long half life of efavirenz (such as a boosted protease inhibitor for 7days) is often considered. In the setting of a severe efavirenz rash often I would switch the efavirenz to an alternative medications (such as raltegravir or a boosted protease inhibitor) while continuing the Truvada. That is also why I often start with Sustiva + Truvada separately and then switch to combined pill (Atripla) after doing OK for 4-8 weeks. KH

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