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HIV Health and Treatment Issues >> Treatment & Side Effects

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Reged: 07/09/13
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Question about Atripla side effects.
      #272981 - 07/10/13 04:07 PM

I've been hiv positive for nearly two years now. I was first taking norvir, truvada and reyataz but they made me feel perpetually hung over and with the norvir my body couldn't tolerate even a single beer or glass of wine, which I enjoy very much. I switched to Atripla after several months and have been on it for roughly a year.

At first the side effects were appalling, but they went away more or less (except for the dreams) after a couple weeks and things were fine. However, a few months ago I started experiencing very strong side effects whenever I take them. This is with or without food, morning or night or even midday. I get a rushing feeling in my body like I'm falling off a skyscraper. I can't focus, have problems thinking clearly and become incredibly tired and feel drained of all energy in my muscles. This sometimes takes hours to go away. My sleeping habits have been about as off as they possibly could be and I have no doubt that the Atripla is exacerbating my already present problems with depression.

This being my second treatment regimen, I am very uncomfortable switching again. The virus replicates very quickly in my body, i.e.: I had an AIDS diagnoses within three months of contracting HIV with a CD4 count of 132 and a viral load that was close to two-million. The Atripla does work. I am undetectable as of my last blood draw and am awaiting my most recent results. While I was having issues with missing doses for a while, I have been taking my meds very consistently and feel the single pill a day works for me.

Has anybody else experienced a resurgence in side effects over time? Also, not being able to take Complera due to having been on Atripla (that I'm aware of) are these side effects worth staying on my current treatment anyways? Is this normal, and is there anything I can do to improve the problems I'm having?

-I recently moved the the midwest from New York and the medical care that I now get is sub-par at best; in New York it was.... unparalleled. I thought I'd ask in a forum since my ID doctor gives me very little feedback. And, before anyone tells me to find a new doctor, I am currently in the only ID department available in my entire city so I have no other option than to continue under the same care I am receiving.

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Reged: 10/25/10
Posts: 1131
Loc: GA, USA
Re: Question about Atripla side effects. new
      #272985 - 07/10/13 07:42 PM

Judging from your posts description of your problems, I think that maybe you have been misinformed. If the first regimen that you were on was replaced by another because of side effects NOT because of viral suppression failure; (Meaning you only had drops in your viral load and never had huge increases in it.); then you are still more or less on your first line treatment even with the second med.

The first and subsequent lines of treatment refers more to viral suppression failure on a class of meds. This is totally different from just switching for the sake of symptoms or ease. For failure to occur you would need to be on a med long enough to show that its effects did nothing to suppress the virus. This would be considered treatment failure and then you would be considered to be on your second line of treatment which means you are limited by the class and or subclasses of medications. The virus all and all would build a resistance to the drugs. It sounds like you only switched due to side effects. Therefore you are still on your first line of treatment, because you haven't experienced viral suppression failure.

That said depending on your virus, what it is resistant to as far as meds to begin with may limit what you can use as far as medicines, but still wouldn't put you in any other line of treatment than first line. If you have a wild type, then you can use anything till you have treatment failure.

While the statement is true that you can't take Atripla and Complera at the same time, (they both contain the same classes of meds and can be very dangerous to increase those in your blood stream), it doesn't prevent you from switching from one to another. You may need to wait a day without taking anything, but you can do it. You never want to take both at the same time though.

Atripla has been reported to cause a lot of the symptoms you are experiencing. A sleep aid may help reduce those symptoms for you with out the need to switch. You need to become proactive in your care, regardless of your doctors willingness to become forthcoming with you. The post you wrote would be vital information for your doctor, so that they can help you become comfortable with the meds. It is their job to help you get better and to overcome any barriers in the way of doing so. That is after all what pays their bills.

I would also suggest a professional therapist. Everyone seems to have aversions to them, but I am sure once you get into the habit of going and are comfortable with the therapist you will wonder why you didn't go sooner. They are a great asset that can if used as a tool rather than a crutch can be very valuable to your overall health. People in therapy after a HIV diagnosis are many more times likely to stay in treatment for hiv, as well as show much higher cd4 counts and better viral suppression overall. They also tend to need less trips to the doctors, and live much better in their daily lives. There are tons of free or very low cost services on many levels for counseling from local organizations to county and state government. If your doctor's clinic doesn't offer those services call your local health department for information on what is available.

Finally, remember you are your best advocate. If it helps you write down your concerns and present them to the nurse and tell them you would like them answered. You can do this with or without an appt. if they resist, contact your local patient advocate group or if the practice is part of a hospital system ask that a patient advocate come to your next appointment.

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Reged: 03/07/13
Posts: 50
Loc: SE US
Re: Question about Atripla side effects. new
      #272999 - 07/11/13 09:13 PM

Been on it for six months. First tremendous improvement. Then gradually stronger and stronger effects similar to those described in your post Consistent sleep disturbances and vivid dreams, rushing feelings, vertigo, and fatigue. Rest, diet, sleep have little effect. Figured the bad effects are worth the improvement evident in by labs. For me taking the pill is better than the alternative.

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Reged: 12/25/11
Posts: 1895
Loc: Jersey Shore
Re: Question about Atripla side effects. new
      #273006 - 07/12/13 12:32 PM

I have beenon Atripla for years now. And if I recall correctly ( memory not good all the time lol ) I went through what your discribing. But given time that too shall pass. I've learned to live with alot of little things such as short term memory issues, body distribution problems and even sleepissues. You will fin ways to work with it or around it. What was the question again ? lol

Look up to the Heavens for the answers to Lifes questions .

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Reged: 05/15/13
Posts: 488
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Re: Question about Atripla side effects. new
      #273081 - 07/18/13 02:56 PM

Side effects ... this is the interesting part because as my doctor keeps asking me regarding my Atripla use (since April 1) I report I have not had any side effects, especially not to the vision of the ones they told me I would be having. The doc of course always gives me that "yeah right" look, but I tell him what I am feeling, nothing!

Having read quite a bit about it now and seeing a couple posts on this forum including this one, I begin to wonder if maybe I am having side effects, maybe not as severe as some but still a side effect.

I do get very tired and can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, within seconds I can be talking or watching tv and I am suddenly out cold. My wife says I am just pretending, she attempts to wake me up and she reports sometimes I wake up like I'm in some dream state talking weird and pointing around, other times I almost startle like I am being woken in the middle of the night. This ususally happens early evening around 7 or 8, and I take my pill at 10 (could it be the final effects of the night before pill?).

Taking the pill at 10pm, I am a bit of a night owl so I stay awake until sometimes 1am, by midnight I do have those feelings of "falling off a building", slight dizzy spells, have to lean on the wall to walk down the hallway, and of course that rushing feeling (is this the pill finally breaking down and getting into my system feelings?)

I get extremely weak occassionally too, so weak it's hard to even climb the stairs, have to drag myself up holding the railing. So weak at times even looking at having to walk 10 feet appears to be miles. This weakness only occurs in my legs and feet, and never had this before, well so extreme ... before I just past it off as being over tired and over worked, but it seems more intense now also, interesting.

I am a recovering alcoholic so of course I always had these feelings when I was drinking lots, that was the buzz I paid for, but now sober is this the side effects the doc is hoping I am having, or maybe these have always been there and I just had them masked with booze?

I have no intention on changing, these side effects don't bother me, and the doc says the meds are doing better then he expected in me, just wanted to know what you guys think, could these be side effects?

anotherday ... in paradise!
daily ponder ... be the reason someone smiles today!

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Reged: 12/25/11
Posts: 1895
Loc: Jersey Shore
Re: Question about Atripla side effects. new
      #273100 - 07/20/13 01:40 AM

Atripla , as with many of the meds , should be taken in the evening so that you sleep through the side effects. But do talk with your dr about this.

Look up to the Heavens for the answers to Lifes questions .

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