Word on the Street: Advice on Adhering to HIV Treatment
June 14, 2012
Joel Gallant, M.D., Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.
With most of the HIV drugs we use today, taking medications on time isn't nearly as important as just taking them. For example, it's more important to take Reyataz, Prezista and Edurant with food than at the same time each day, while Sustiva and Atripla are often better tolerated on an empty stomach.
A pillbox is critical. Many people think pillboxes are only for people who take a lot of medications, but even if you're just taking one pill a day, you should use a pillbox that separates your pills by the day of the week. With a pillbox, you never have to wonder whether you took your meds or not.
Link medication doses with daily activities. If you take your meds with food, choose the meal you eat every day, preferably at home, and store your pills in the kitchen. If you take your meds in the morning or at bedtime, put your pills next to the toothpaste and take them when you brush your teeth.
In most cases, it's better to take your medications late than to skip them completely. That may mean taking a dose at breakfast if you forget the dose you usually take at dinner. The exceptions are Atripla and Sustiva, because morning doses can cause daytime side effects.
Finally, don't panic if you accidentally miss a dose once in a while. Most of the drugs we use today last a long time in the blood, so the occasional missed dose won't cause you to fail therapy or develop resistance. That's especially true once your viral load becomes undetectable; skipping doses is riskier during the first few months of therapy. Missing multiple consecutive doses is worse than missing a single dose, especially if you're taking NNRTIs (Sustiva, Atripla, Viramune, Edurant), so don't go away on vacation without bringing enough pills, and don't wait until Saturday night to find out that you need a refill on Sunday.
Comment by: Robert
Thu., Oct. 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm EDT
I take my HIV medication at bedtime that way I do not feel the side effect, I take Truvada and Viramune Xr, I only wish I could find a good doctor that would help me with my chronic complication with sinus congestion&post Nasal drip into my throat that coures sinus infection which I have to take 5 to 8 time each year antibiotic,just to feel ok, can someone help me with this problem
Comment by: Ms Sheila Ann
Fri., Aug. 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm EDT
I have missed my meds twice so far,on different day's. when I miss do I take them again with my meds for that day. Or do I leave them alone.
Comment by: Rick
Wed., Jun. 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm EDT
Thanks for ur comments, but i find that the biggest problem to adherence to hiv meds, are the side effects. Thats what i find hard to deal with, for instance Truvada is great except that makes my stomach to bloat and gives me some bone pain, too. Then i take Norvir and Reyataz, and these make me dizzy or clumsy. Best of luck to u.
Comment by: Philip
Wed., Jun. 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm EDT
I've never missed my medication because I take them every morning immediately after feeding my cats. They have to be fed, I have to take my meds. It is a win for them and myself.
Comment by: John
Mon., Oct. 31, 2011 at 9:20 pm EDT
I can seem to remember to take them no matter what. Even if I sit them out. I'm A.D.D. I take medication for that and forget. I think it may be from my body blocks them out and affects my add. I have many side effects and make me really sick.
Comment by: Lin-I
Tue., Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm EST You can try some Chinese herb supplement. They do not kill any virus, just improving your immune system and no side effect. There are some HIV postive turn to negative cases happened in China. They took Chinese herb only.
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