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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Trizivir and insomnia
May 18, 2001

I have been taking Trizivir since March 5, 2001. Previously I was on Ziagen and Combivir, which I began January 5, 2001. I was diagnosed HIV+ in October, 2000. Since that time, I have been suffering with chronic insomnia. I have experienced insomnia intermittantly over the past 19 years, but nothing like I'm experiencing now. And the lack of sleep is causing me to have anxiety attacks. I'm afraid to go to bed just worrying that I'm not going to sleep. Bottom line, I'm worn out. In your best medical estimation, is the Trizivir causing or exacerbating the insomnia problem? If so, what do you recommend? Antidepressant, antianxiety, sleeping pill, or a change in meds? Please, if you will, include any statistics regarding other insomnia cases or complaints.

Response from Dr. Bartlett

Insomnia is a common problem for people living with HIV. Some medications can make insomnia worse, but AZT, 3TC and abacavir do not commonly cause this problem. One way to see if the insomnia is related would be to stop the medications-however, this should only be done under the supervision of your health care provider. A variety of medications can be used to treat insomnia; for chronic use I try trazodone or low dose amitriptyline. Some people advocate the use of melatonin. Good luck!

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