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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Changing regiment and resistance
Dec 7, 2011

Hi Doc, I have been HIV positive for about 8 years and on medication since 2005. I didn't have much luck with my first regiment due to undetected resistance to Efavirenz prior to the start of regiment. I failed to suppress the virus and developed multi class resistance within 9 months. Here are the resistance genotypes: PI: none. NRTI: K65R, M184V, T215I. NNRTI: L100I, V179D. I started on Raltegravir, Darunavir, Ritonavir and Truvada about 4 years ago and I have been undetectable since with CD4 count over 1000. I have developed some strange muscle weakness, cramps, tension and spasms about 8 months ago. It is even affecting my facial and neck muscle (muscle tiredness when eating and concentration)as well as peripheral muscle. I have normal CK values. I am starting to suspect Raltegravir and I am thinking about changing this drug. I do not have many options though and I am wondering if changing a drug would compromise its effectiveness in future use. Would I be able to start Raltegravir again in the future as a last resort? In your opinion what is the best option for me right now? which drug should I replace it with? (my virus is susceptible to AZT but I would like to avoid it if I can) Thank you for your help. Adam, UK

Response from Dr. Henry

I would be somewhat nervous just dropping the raltegravir due to the backgfound NRTI resistance. Are you taking the darunavir twice daily (might be preferred if resistance a concern). You have low level resistance to etravirine but that might be an option (switch raltegravir to etravirine on a trial basis to see what happens to your muscle complaints). I assume you have had an evaluation for the muscle problems (ie thyroid, hormone, electrolyte studies possible rheumatology consult). Co-enzyme Q sometimes is helpful for muscle cramps-may be worth trying on a trial basis in some cases. KH

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