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Ketamine and Alcohol use
Jun 29, 2011

I want to find out a friend of mine is Hiv + and on arv's, what would the effect be of alcohol use and ketamine use on his viral load?

Response from Dr. Henry

See below for discussion from website on ketamine:

Interaction with anti-HIV drugs

There are no recorded interactions between ketamine and the currently available anti-HIV drugs. However, ketamine is often taken with other drugs, such as ecstasy, which do interfere with the way the body processes anti-HIV drugs. Other issues

As with all recreational drugs, it is difficult to know exactly what the ketamine you believe to be taking actually contains. Doses found in street drugs are not controlled. The amount of ketamine you are taking could be much higher than you think. In addition, ketamine is often 'cut' with other substances, which might be poisonous, or with other drugs, often amphetamines, LSD, and sometimes heroin.

Because of its anaesthetic effects, ketamine can stop people feeling pain. There have been reports of people suffering severe internal injuries after being fisted whilst taking ketamine. Sexual inhibitions might also be lowered by taking ketamine and there is some anecdotal evidence that use of the drug acts as a trigger for unprotected sex for some people.

Long-term use of ketamine can cause memory loss, mood problems, including depression, mania, psychotic episodes and flashbacks. Tolerance of ketamine can develop, meaning that you have to take more of the drug to have the same experiences. Both physical and psychological dependence on ketamine are possible. Practical issues

If you use ketamine, or are planning to do so, then think about discussing this with your HIV doctor or another member of your healthcare team. Most HIV specialists are happy to discuss drug use and can provide helpful information on minimising risks.

Taking ketamine may mean that you are physically or physchologically unable to take your anti-HIV medication and if you are planning on taking ketamine, it would be wise to plan in advance how to manage this.

Alcohol has little direct effect on HIV levels to my knowledge but heavy use can decrease adherence to HIV medication resulting in viral rebound and development of resistance in some cases. KH

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