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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Re: Nightsweats 3/17/2000
Mar 28, 2000

Just to add my 2 cents, not really a question, but rather a comment. I have had nightsweats on and off ever since first starting treatment way back in the early 1990's. Back then on a simple mono-therapy DDI, later to AZT, eventually on to the "cocktails" with Crixivan, and later Viracept and the usual combinations. Now, with using a new combo of Sustiva, Ziagen, and back to the new once-a-day DDI, the nightsweats still continue from time to time. Most commonly occurring about an hour or two after falling asleep. I cannot determine what really might bring them on as they do not occur regularly, however they aren't what I would consider uncommon either. I have always figured that it simply was the fact that the virus was in my system (HIV) and that it was part of the battle that my body has waged.

If you could elaborate a little on what causes them to occur, kind of a refresher course, I think it would be of interest to many readers.

Thanks a million for all of your help and advice, it's great to have a place to turn to for updated and useful information.

JW in San Francisco

Response from Dr. Henry

Tough question. To make it even more complicated persons with HIV +/- treatment often have disturbances in their hormone levels (such as testosterone, thyroid, or cortisol levels) that could contribute to night sweats. There may be nutritional/vitamin deficiencies that could contribute as well as underlying chronic infections or, rarely, tumors (such as lymphoma) that are associated with night sweats. Assuming that none of those are likely in your case then your hypothesis seems reasonable, that is, the battle in your body between the virus and your immune system (with a drug cocktail thrown in for good measure) results in the release of many powerful substances within your body that generate a physical reaction. It might be useful to document whether you actually get a fever (keep a log) or simply get chilled or sweats. Sometimes a nightcap of 3mg melatonin and something like Alka Seltzer or buffered aspirin can lead to a more comfortable sleep. Keith Henry, M.D.

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