And, of course, many of the medications
used to combat HIV can also cause a loss
of appetite. A temporary loss of appetite
may not be cause for worry, but eating
very little or not eating at all is not healthy
and can lead to a host of other health
concerns. One of the biggest problems is
known as "wasting," or extreme weight
loss (more than 10% of body weight).
ARE HIV MEDS TO BLAME?
A few HIV medications may interfere
A temporary loss of appetite may be of little concern; but not eating enough over a long period of time is not good for anyone.
Once again, a lack of
appetite can have many
causes. Sometimes it may
be psychological -- due
to depression or the
stress of living with HIV.
Sometimes it's physical
-- another illness (maybe
something as simple as a cold) may take away your desire to eat.
What about marijuana?
you're going to
take Marinol, could
you use marijuana
itself? Many doctors
believe that smoking
a little marijuana
may help increase
While marijuana is
forbidden by U.S.
federal law, as of this
writing, 16 states
and the District
of Columbia have
marijuana" laws that
permit limited use of
marijuana for health
clubs" operate in a
number of cities, and
some even provide
at low or no cost to
those with limited
marijuana for more information on medical marijuana and HIV/AIDS.
HOW TO TREAT APPETITE LOSS
There are two prescription treatments
that doctors tend to prescribe most
for appetite loss. Megace works well
to bolster appetite and has shown to
improve weight gain, but almost all
of the weight gain is in the form of fat
or water. The drug is actually used in
cancer therapy to help with weight
gain, but also may change the balance
of hormones in the body and decrease
The other drug that works well to
stimulate appetite and relieve nausea
and vomiting is known as Marinol. This
is a synthetic form of THC, the main
active ingredient in marijuana, which
is known to stimulate eating. Since it
can leave you feeling stoned, it may not
be the best choice for people in drug
Another possible alternative is Remeron,
an antidepressant taken before bedtime
that has been reported to make people
hungry when they wake up. However,
it is not officially approved for use to
increase appetite; and it can be sedating,
so it is important not to take it during
"I always stay
hydrated, so that you're flushing out
your system. I know I need to drink
more water. I feel like I dry out faster."
-- Eric, diagnosed in 2008
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