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HIV meds/herbal meds/smoking?
Sep 21, 2000

I am currently on Combivir and Viracept and I am trying to find a way to quit smoking. I have heard a lot of news about Zyban to help quit smoking. Can Taking Zyban or another kind of inhibitor to help quit smoking have interactions with my current medications?

I have also been reading and hearing about herbal medications that have been shown to help with HIV meds is there any real concrete evidence about herbal medications and their help in HIV/AIDS?

Response from Dr. Stryker

Zyban is prescription drug than can help some folks stop smoking, and probably could be used by someone like yourself under the right circumstances. Monitoring by a physician is necessary. It is the same drug as the antidepressant known as Wellbutrin. As with all meds, there are risks and possible side effects, but smoking is probably more risky in the long run!

Regarding herbal medications and concrete evidence they help in HIV treatment, the answer is no, not at this time. They may be useful for certain HIV-related side effects, but they could also interfere with protease inhibitor levels. For instance, St. Johns Wort can reduce protease inhibitor concentrations in the blood, and perhaps cause "failure" of your HIV treatment. So avoid that one in particular, and review any herbal treatments with your doc. Please note than many such herbal and standard medicine combinations have not been studied, so your doc may not know too much. Good Luck. RAS

Rick Stryker, M.D., M.P.H.

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