What Is a Drug Interaction?
March 23, 2018
What Is a Drug Interaction?
Medicines help us feel better and stay healthy. But sometimes drug interactions can cause problems. There are three types of drug interactions:
Drug interactions can reduce or increase the action of a medicine or cause adverse (unwanted) side effects.
Do HIV Medicines Ever Cause Drug Interactions??
Treatment with HIV medicines (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission. But drug interactions, especially drug-drug interactions, can complicate HIV treatment.
Drug-drug interactions between different HIV medicines and between HIV medicines and other medicines are common. Interactions between medicines may reduce or increase the concentration of a medicine in the blood. The change in concentration can make the affected medicine less effective, more effective, or so strong that it causes dangerous side effects.
Before recommending an HIV regimen, health care providers carefully consider potential drug-drug interactions between HIV medicines. They also ask about other medicines a person may be taking. For example, a health care provider may ask a woman with HIV whether she is using hormonal birth control. Some HIV medicines may make hormonal birth control less effective, so women using hormonal contraceptives may need to use an additional or different method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the AIDSinfo HIV and Birth Control infographic.
Can Drug-Food Interactions and Drug-Condition Interactions Affect People Taking HIV Medicines?
Yes, the use of HIV medicines can lead to both drug-food interactions and drug-condition interactions.
Food or beverages can affect the absorption of some HIV medicines and increase or reduce the concentration of the medicine in the blood. Depending on the HIV medicine, the change in concentration may be helpful or harmful. Directions on how to take HIV medicines specify whether to take the medicine with food, without food, or either way if the HIV medicine isn't affected by food.
Conditions such as kidney disease, hepatitis, and pregnancy can affect how the body processes HIV medicines. For example, because of pregnancy-related changes, dosing of an HIV medicine may change during different stages of pregnancy. But pregnant women should always consult with their health care providers before making any changes to their HIV regimens.
How Can I Avoid Drug Interactions?
You can take the following steps to avoid drug interactions:
Learn More About Drug Interactions
Browse the AIDSinfo Drug Database to find information on FDA-approved and investigational HIV/AIDS-related drugs, including information on drug interactions.
This fact sheet is based on information from the following sources:
[Note from TheBody: This article was created by AIDSinfo, who last updated it on Feb. 6, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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