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Jul 9, 2006

Most of the ARV drugs cause rash as a side effect. I want to know how the rash affects the clients, especially their lifestyle and how significant others view the rash.

Response from Dr. Daar

You are correct that select antiretrovirals can cause a rash, as can other medications used in those with HIV infection, such as bactrim. Most of the time rash develops during the first days to weeks of treatment. If not severe treatment can sometimes be continued with antihistamines and the rash will resolve. Less frequently, the rash may be more severe and/or associated with high fevers or other symptoms that require discontinuing treatment.

There are two antiretrovirals that can be associated with severe allergic reactions requiring discontinuation of therapy and a strong warning that it never be given again. This includes abacavir (Ziagen), which is also part of the combination pill of trizivir and epzicom. Severe reactions can also occur with nevirapine (viramune). With these drugs the severe reactions are typically associated with multiple symptoms and not just rash.

In general, rash does not prevent us from effectively treating people with well tolerated therapy. Nevertheless, these issues should be discussed with your provider. In addition, if rash develops on therapy it should prompt you to alert your HIV specialist.

Best, Eric

Treatment Interruption
New Treatment

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