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Should I ask my doctor about switching treatments?

Jun 5, 2003

I was diagnosed with HIV just over a year ago and my initial Cd4 count was 34. I've been on a treatment of Combivir and Sustiva for about 10 months now and my last two labs had my viral load undetectable and my Cd4 count at 154 and the last one at 150. I have an appt. with my doctor in a couple weeks and am wondering if it's time to try a different combination. Also, are there more risks of side effect with protease inhibitors than what I'm currently on? I'm afraid of side effects with protease inhibitors.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Boyle

You seem to be succeeding with the regimen, and your CD4 count has significantly increased although it is only rising slowly, as it does in some patients. I doubt that you would benefit from a regimen change, unless you are not tolerating the current regimen. Protease inhibitors are excellent medications, but they all have some side effects (just as your current regimen has some) and if you are tolerating the current regimen (it is one of the easiest regimens out there) you are almost certainly likely to have more problems with the protease inhibitors.

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