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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Numbness in the face
Jun 8, 2011

Hi Doc, I really need some advice here. I am 34 yo HIV positive male, I was diagnosed with HIV about 4 years ago. I developed a sharp pain down my spine and was taken to the ER and hospitalized for week. I had a high fever for couple of days and then the symptoms resolved. I was left with temporary paralysis in my feet which also resolved when I started HAART (CD4 350). This incident happened 3 years ago. I was put on efavirenz and kivexa for 4 months and then was taken off due to efavirenz and abacavir resistance. Then I was put on darunavir, viread and raltegravir which is my current regiment. I have been undetectable since I started those meds. my CD4 count is averaging 1100. I have always had some strange electric pulsation in my feet and high frequency of them going to sleep, since I started the meds. Nothing really painful or anything. Just a bit annoying but easy to deal with. Now, suddenly I feel like the left side of my head and the bridge of my nose are numb. I have normal sensation to touch and no paralysis. It just feels like I have a kilo of weight on top of nose and between my eyes and kind of tingling pressure on the side of head. This started 10 days ago, right in the middle of the exam period (I am a mature student studying molecular biology). What do you think this is? can it be Neuropathy? MS? I am just worried that it will never resolve. Also, would Neuropathy eventually lead to paralysis? Should I see my doctor or wait and see if it just due to the stress I am experiencing at the moment?. Looking forward to hear from you. Thanks in advance. Adam, UK

Response from Dr. Henry

I would be concerned about some form of Bell's palsy involving facial nerve (often of unknown etiology though sometimes due to herpes or other infections). It can occur in general population as well as HIV+ persons with good CD4 counts. I recommend getting an evaluation by your HIV doc to determine if their is any objective evidence of facial nerve partial paralysis or dysfunction that may need treatment or is some other factor involved. KH

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